Known as “Debaser” when she skates with her Eves of Destruction roller derby team, the Margherita Villains, Deborah Albrecht once received a sage piece of advice from her 95-year-old friend and client, Ruth: “Sometimes a gal needs to kick up her heels!”
The owner of her own cleaning company by day, Deborah has taken those words of wisdom to heart, enjoying the fun, challenge and camaraderie of women’s roller derby.
A fellow “Eve” on the opposition Belles of the Brawl team, Michelle “Haul Ass Hannah” Dalzell is passionate about her work as an occupational therapist in mental health. Inspired by her clients, colleagues and the many community non-profits, “one of my goals in the work I do is finding ways to remove barriers so that more clients have the opportunity to participate in activities that are important to their well-being,” she says.
“Roller derby, for example, is an activity that a woman of almost any age or fitness level can participate in. With a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, the sport has become a worldwide sisterhood – no joke. If I landed in London tomorrow and contacted a local derby team, it’s very likely I’d be offered a place to sleep, skate, and eat, simply because I’m a part of Derby.”
Black Press: What have you learned as you mature that you would like to have been able to share with a “younger you?”
Deborah: Listen to your instincts and resist second-guessing yourself.
Michelle: 1. Trust your gut and intuition. 2. Don’t go to university for the sake of it. Mom, dad and Maclean’s magazine – your kids won’t be jobless wanderers if they don’t go straight to university 3. Don’t believe everything you read.
BP: What would you like to do better?
DA: Honour the many talented and dedicated women who have nurtured our local roller derby league, The Eves of Destruction, as well as aspire to be a better player for my fantastic team, The Margherita Villians.
MD: Sing and play a better version of Neil Young’s Old Man. I have a long, long way to go.
BP: The one thing you’d never be without?
DA: Fishnet stockings! Gotta love ‘em…
MD: Tough one. I think I’d have to say my toothbrush.
BP: For what traits would you like to be remembered?
DA: My sense of humour; I’ve learned to laugh through so many difficult situations – it’s my primary coping device.
BP: If you weren’t in your current career, what would you be doing?
MD: My 16-year-old self wanted to be a race car driver or a helicopter pilot; Air Wolf may or may not have been an inspiration.
BP: How do you find balance?
MD: Keeping things fresh – I’m always on the lookout for a new challenge or adventure.
BP: Most cherished piece of advice received from a woman in your life?
MD: Know your worth.
BP: Your guilty pleasure?
MD: Sweets, cake, chocolate, salted caramel and other delights. Quality always overrides quantity.
BP: Your proudest achievement?
MD: It’s difficult to name one thing in particular, but I’m proud to say that I frequently step outside of my comfort zone. I find tolerating a little bit of risk and trying new things to be one of the most rewarding and enriching ways to live.
BP: Most unforgettable experience?
MD: Sky diving – stepping backwards off the edge of a plane and letting go of everything that you know to be safe, for just a second (which felt like an eternity).
Learn more about the Eves of Destruction at www.evesofdestructionrollerderby.com