About sixteen seconds after you finish your first derby practice you start to think about your derby name. It becomes pretty much an obsession. Every name you hear gets twisted into a violent and/or sexy pun. It might seem silly, but it becomes an all-consuming task, because you are essentially naming your alter ego. Your permanent Derby persona.
You see, you have to pick a name that nobody has. Nobody in the entire roller derby… world… league… thing. There’s a registry. And you can’t take someone else’s. That means when you’re driving down the street and you suddenly think to yourself “Canna Whoopass!” you will be disappointed when you finally get to a computer to find that awesome name to be taken.
Same with Lorelai Killmore. Taken. Rory Killmore. And Killmore Girls is a team. All taken.
Some girls make plays on their own names, but it’s tricky. You want it to sound slightly menacing, kinda naughty. While “Bloody Pampax,” is certainly disturbing, isn’t going to work for me because once you have your derby name, your real name is forgotten. I cease to be “Pam.” It’s just the derby name. As far as I know, Jenna Tailya is her only name. I’ve introduced someone by saying, “Hi, this is Buttersnatch Sundae.” You also can’t pick a name or that’s close to someone else in your league. Haught Wheels is taken, so you can’t be Bitchon Wheels (which is somehow not taken).
People who don’t think I’m a complete idiot for joining roller derby understand that this sport combines my inner teenager who’s still a total drama dork with my inner teenager who’s still a mosh-pit-joining-skater-girl. My tailbone still hurts, so the ones who think I’m a complete idiot probably have a bit of a point.
Soon after I’d started thinking about my name, Tara came to town to watch a dance movie DVD with me. (Oh, like you’re not jealous. Suck it; we’re awesome.) Turns out Tara is exceptionally gifted at coming up with Derby names. Smackie O (Taken!), Jane Hurtin’, Maimie Thighsenhower. Tara loved that last one, but I knew I couldn’t pull off a historical reference derby name. Although, I was particularly fond of “Smackajawea” (Taken.) Between Tara’s obsession with finding the right name and Dave’s skills at graphic design (Thanks again, Dave! Can’t wait for you to see my helmet!), I not only found a name but had a font for my name and number months before I was allowed to unveil them.
I thought about being Wonder Killer (#140 IQ), but it seemed strange to pick a name that wasn’t very skate-y and only made sense to people who knew me through my blog. Other than the time I was quietly outed by Trixie Biscuit, I was pretty much anonymous at Fresh Meat practice. In fact, there’s another Pam who started with me. We both call ourselves “The Other Pam.” She is currently skating the Baby Doll Brawl as One Bad Pamma Jamma, which is fantastic (as she is, in fact, a badass jammer). It’s also hard to get used to hearing people call her that, as “Pama” has been one of my nicknames since Jessica started doing it about a decade ago, and sometimes they call The Other Other Pam “Pammy,” and I keep having to remember I skate under a non-Pam name.
Oh, someone suggested Non-Schtick Pam.
Nope. Not even looking that one up.
In the end, I found my name one morning while quietly singing in a hot shower as Tara slept in. I woke her up with the name written out on a little Post-It, and she gave me a sleepy, weary “That’ll do, Pig” nod.
Then I had to stay quiet. I knew if I thought about the name too much or talked about it, I risked putting its concept-molecules into the universe, and within a week or so it would have been taken somewhere in Austin. Once you find a name and number you both like and can use, you have to wait until you’ve been skating with the league for at least three months, and put in time at bouts and volunteer events. You can’t just slide in, take a name forever, and then puss out. You send your name and number in and wait for it to clear with the national registry. You wait and wait and wait, and only once you get the all-clear can you wear your name and number on your helmet and your scrimmage shirts.
Last week, I finally got the all-clear. I’m officially registered.
So while you might know me as pamie.com, when I’m on my skates, my name is:
May Q. Holla