May Most Valuable Member

By Giddy Up Anya

This month Pat Ellis, Grand Raggidy’s ticket booth volunteer, won the coveted title of Most Valuable Member. She’s been with the team since April 2014, and has worked our ticket booth for every game in the 2014-2015 season. As All Star player Garden Ho said, “She’s good at what she does and makes my job as Co Treasurer much easier.”

I interviewed Pat over the phone and got her take on Grand Raggidy’s players, the fan’s experience of roller derby, and the scoop on what she plans to do with her trophy. Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation.

You have family in the league, don’t you?

BJ Tallywhacker [Grand Raggidy’s Head Non-Skating Official] is my sister.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Well, I work at Meijer. I’ve been there forty-three years. I have seven grandkids. I go to roller derby and work in my yard!

What is involved in your league job with the tickets?

Basically, collecting the sold tickets and the money for the skaters, recording all of those and setting up all the will call envelopes with the tickets in them. Selling the tickets to the people when they come in the door. Balancing out the cash. Making sure everything is put away right.

What’s your favorite part of roller derby? Why did you get involved with the team?

I don’t get to see a whole lot of the games, but I have been learning a whole lot more about how it works. BJ [Tallywhacker] said, “Come to one of our games!” And I went to one, and I sat there, and I went, “I have no idea what they’re doing.” [Laughs]

Then I looked in the [pamphlet] and started learning about it. Brenda [BJ Tallywhacker] taught me different things, about how they get their points. Every time I’m there I learn something new.

My favorite part is watching the jammers try to get around the girls that are blocking them. Some of those jammers are pretty tiny compared to those big girls!

Do you have a favorite jammer? Or blocker? Someone you like watching?

I like watching [Xtreme] Tac. She’s good, the way she flies around that rink. And Ultrafox. She’s a good jammer.

Both Xtreme Tac and Ultrafox are so fun to watch.

I think it’s exciting. I had a couple that I worked with, and they came one week and brought their dad. He’s eighty-something. They really enjoyed it. They took one of the pamphlets, and they are still reading about how it works.

Was watching Grand Raggidy your first experience with the sport?

When we were kids, we used to watch [roller derby] on TV, but they were … not flat tracks.

Banked tracks?

Yeah, they’d skate up on the sides. And I was a kid watching that, and I thought it was so cool. Then they didn’t have it on TV for years. So, if you’re fifty or older, you probably saw it when you were a kid.

Have you gone to any other derby games around the state? And what did you think?

I went with Brenda [BJ Tallywhacker] down to Kalamazoo last month. I heard one of the [Kalamazoo] girls go, “We don’t ‘have to worry about this team. They’re not gonna beat us.” Well, they whipped their butts. You never do that. You never say, “We’re gonna win,” because then you get your butts kicked.

Oh yeah, whenever anyone in sports gets overconfident… it’s like a curse. When you’re nervous, you’re almost more ready to defend your turf, so to speak.

I’m sure over the summer, Brenda [BJ Tallywhacker] will be asked to help out at a few different ones, so I’ll go with her to watch the different games. I would enjoy watching other teams to see how they are compared to our girls.

Do you want to add anything else?

Just that I’m going to take my trophy different places with me. I’m taking it to work with me. Brenda posted something on our Facebook page. If I can manage to do it, I will. I’ll make a collage of all the places it has been.

Thanks so much to Pat Ellis for all the work she does for our league! We’re lucky to have her as part of our team.