Langer Danger #1288
“Don’t let the muggles get you down.”—Ron Weasley, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
If you're a fan of MedCity Mafia Roller Derby, then you're no stranger to our beloved Langer Danger! One of our power blockers, Danger is often in the brace position holding together and providing stability for her wall, communicating essential information about all of the myriad things happening on the track, and acting as the last line of defense for any opposing jammers trying to sneak by, which, with Danger on the track, they don't often do!
We love Danger not only because she helps us win games but also because she is a lovely ray of sunshine in our windowless, dimly lit arena (the Graham is awesome, but let's face it, it is dark!), lighting up the track with a ready smile, positive attitude, and enduring optimism (and occasionally a so-bad-it's-good, Laffy Taffy-style joke).
We're awfully lucky to have her. Everybody needs some Danger in their life!
Read on to learn all about Danger!
How did you come up with your derby name?
I wanted to represent my name in some way but still have it be a play on words. I brainstormed all the ways that “Langer” (my last name) sounds like other words or phrases. In the end, I decided to do a play on the phrase “stranger danger.” Although, my last name is pronounced differently than the Langer in my derby name, so I have been announced as Langer Danger (with the Gs making more of a “guh” sound [and rhyming with “hanger”] than “juh” sound) more than once.
What position(s) do you like to play and why?
I am a blocker, and my favorite blocker position to play is the brace. Although, I have aspirations to jam, too, and am proud to say I get a little better at jamming each season.
What kind of gear do you use?
My skates are Riedell Blue Streaks, which I absolutely LOVE. I also have an S1 Lifer helmet, which was a must for me to get after I hit my head the first time. My pads are a mix of Triple 8 and 187s, and I wear a SISU mouthguard.
How did you get involved with derby?
I have always wanted to try out derby since I saw the movie Whip It, but at the time I was too young and didn’t know of any derby in my area. Then, when I was in college, I had a friend tell me about an upcoming bout that he was volunteering at, which he had gotten involved in from our organic chemistry professor, Squirrelly Q. After watching my first bout, I knew I wanted to be a part of MedCity Mafia Roller Derby. But I was still too young, as MMRD has a 21+ policy, so I started off by volunteering at the bouts. When they were starting one of their next new recruit sessions, they contacted me saying I would be able to start training, even though I was still only 20, but I wouldn’t be able to bout until I was 21, which was just a few month away. That was 3 years ago and I haven't looked back. Sixteen-year-old me would be so pumped to know that I made that dream, which seemed like a long shot at the time, a reality.
What is your athletic background? Did you skate before derby?
I have almost no athletic background. I can trip walking on flat ground and struggle to catch things with my hands rather than my face, so sports and I haven’t always mixed. I always joked that my high school athletic activity was marching band. I had never roller skated before, but I had roller bladed prior to roller derby. But, I was still only okay at best; I have scars on my calf and upper thigh from some super nasty road rash to prove that.
What do you eat after practice?
Anything I can. But I really try to make sure I drink tons of water.
What is your personal theme song?
“Just Dance” by Lady Gaga
What’s your favorite part about derby?
The people I have met. They are a group of super fun people that I likely wouldn't have met otherwise, and they inspire and support me on and off the track to push myself to reach my goals.
Describe your greatest derby success.
Completing Uff Da Palooza with my team was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. We went into the tournament with some slight feelings of apprehension as we were the lowest ranked team, had never done a tournament, and had a pretty different roster than when Uff Da was first talked about with our team. Personally, I was also just wondering, physically and mentally, can I do this? After playing just 1 bout, I am physically and mentally exhausted and then have plenty of time to recover before the next one, so playing 3 bouts in 2 days was so intimidating. But in the end, we did it and did way better than we ever expected! We won 1 game, when we were expecting to lose all 3, and the 2 we lost, we kept the scores very close. We finished knowing that we gave it our all and that we did this together. During the bouts and after each of them, my teammates were commenting on how great I was doing on the track and some great things I was doing. I was so proud of the role I played on the team knowing that it added to our success.
Describe your biggest derby obstacle/disappointment and how did you overcome it?
My own mindset was my biggest obstacle. My first 2 seasons, I was not very good. I fell down a ton, I never knew what was going on, and I’ll admit I was a safety concern for myself and others. There were times when it was hard to keep going to practice feeling like I wasn’t getting better. I kept going to practice and pushing myself. I tried to ask questions to those I looked up to and really listen and implement their advice. I tried taking better care of myself off the track. Slowly, I noticed I was getting better; things were clicking and I was figuring out skills I struggled with seasons before. Once I noticed I was improving and my teammates noticed, it made me want to try harder and keep pushing myself. I now try to stay positive and supportive with the new skaters on our team. I know that there are skaters joining that feel they way I did, so I hope I can be there to offer that support and advice to others with the hope that it gives them that push they need.
Besides skating, what other roles do you take on for the team?
I have helped find charities for our bouts as well as volunteering opportunities for us. I have also helped plan some of the end of season parties. This season I will be helping with the training committee.
What do you do outside of derby?
I work as a behavior therapist for children with autism at the Rochester Center for Autism, and I absolutely love it. My days are spent playing with kids while teaching them important skills and I also teach social skills classes. I live with my boyfriend of over 4 years, and together we have 2 dogs (Samwise and Pippin), 2 chinchillas (Chibi and Pikachu), and 2 snakes (Stevie Nicks and Angus). I enjoy spending my time playing with my dogs, binge watching Netflix, doing yoga, and eating (sushi dates with my boyfriend are the best).
How has derby changed you?
Overall, I am stronger. Physically, my body is stronger from the training we do. My legs are stronger, my core is stronger, I’m faster, and my endurance has greatly increased. It has also made me mentally and emotionally stronger. It’s hard getting back up after you have been hit down over and over, it’s hard to go back to practice when you didn’t feel good about your performance leaving the last practice, it’s hard to continue doing a drill when you feel like you just can’t get it after doing it over and over, it’s hard to keep going when your brain is telling you you're exhausted, sore and tired, and just want to quit. I have let all these things get to me at some point, but I have also gotten a lot better at getting over it and just keep going. Derby has made me realize I can do almost anything I put my mind to, and I do have the physical, emotional, and mental strength to keep going because I will get better and I can do it.
If you could choose a superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to talk to animals. I know it would probably not be as exciting as I hope it would be, but I just love animals so much. Plus, I would love to know what my dogs are saying to me when they just stare at me but definitely want something (it’s probably just more food).
What would you choose for your last meal?
All you can eat sushi.