Hannie Oakley #651
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Hannie Oakley doesn’t mess around, but she does like to horse around! In addition to working and living on a farm where she raises and trains horses, she’s also a self-described class clown, bringing levity to the track with her goofball antics. And we definitely appreciate this softer, foal-birthing, mirth-making side of Hannie, because then there’s her hard side. And we’ve all come into (painful) contact with it.
Nobody hits like Hannie. While none of us have ever actually been hit by a wrecking ball, we assume she’s a close approximation thereof. Impact is directly followed by the expulsion of all air from one’s lungs, shell-shocked disorientation, and immediate dislocation from in bounds on the track to out of bounds and out of play. Thank goodness she’s on our team!
Closing out her fourth season, Hannie keeps adding to her repertoire of derby skills, even volunteering (with minimal grumbling) to jam (her derby dislike). And it’s only fitting that horsewoman Hannie’s newest effective defensive move is “the pony” (where a blocker holds onto the posterior ends of two other blockers and swings laterally across the track, dispatching the jammer neatly out of bounds). Like her sharp-shooting namesake, Hannie rarely misses.
Read on to learn more about Hannie Oakley!
How did you come up with your name?
Well, I'm all about strong, powerful, historical women, and Annie Oakley is just one of them. My childhood nickname that I loathed was Hannie. The people I worked with when I started derby called me that, and it just sort of stuck.
What position(s) do you like to play and why?
Blocker, because I hate jamming. Sometimes they make me wear the pivot panty which means I might have to jam. I also like hitting people, and the strategy you have to be aware of when you're in a pack.
What kind of gear do you use?
My wrist guards and helmet are from when I started 4 years ago! Off-brand wrist guards but S1 helmet and 187 pads.
How did you get involved with derby?
My mom and I used to watch the Minnesota RollerGirls together. She said she wanted me to do it someday. In 2014, Loose Kannen convinced me and a few other girls to try out...so we did.
What is your athletic background? Did you skate before derby?
I always laugh at this because I was not much of an athlete. I played slow pitch softball until I was 12 because fast pitch was too much for me. But I also did non-competitive studio dance and danced in college, all for about 15 years.
What sort of training do you do off the track?
I love Olympic lifting. I go to the gym about 4 to 5 days a week and do a lot of strength training. When it's nice, out I'll do long trail skates for endurance.
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
Drinking lots of water and getting lots of sleep and cracking all my joints...toes, ankles, knuckles, back, etc.
What do you eat after practice?
Usually nothing because it's late, but sometimes I'll have a spoonful of peanut butter dipped in chocolate chips as guilty pleasure.
What is your personal theme song?
I don't have one.
What’s your favorite part about derby?
The women! You'll never find a better or closer group of friends. We are all so open and comfortable with each other.
Describe your greatest derby success.
Finally nailing strategy in game play. For so long, I was just confused and looking lost on the track. I've never participated in a sport that required so much quick thinking.
Describe your biggest derby obstacle/disappointment and how did you overcome it?
I think I'm still battling my dislike of jamming. I'm not good at it, therefore I don't like to do it or even practice it. I am working on being a more well-rounded player, and I've come to accept that this is a necessary skill to possess.
Besides skating, what other roles do you take on for the team (committees, volunteering, etc)?
Well, I'd like to think I'm the resident class clown, but others may disagree. I'm on a committee here and there every season, and I co-taught new recruits this year.
What do you do outside of derby (career, family, hobbies, etc)?
I live/work on a horse farm so I do a lot of chores and some training. I work in the school district, but I'd like to be a full-time naturalist. Nature is neat. I like hiking and reading and that's about all I have time for.
How has derby changed you (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc)?
Derby has eased my social anxiety immensely. Whether I am interacting with fans or leading a group of fresh meat, I am a lot more comfortable and confident. It also jump-started my physical activity after I stopped dancing in college and needed an outlet. Now I have to cross-train or I feel lazy.
If you could choose a superpower, what would it be and why?
Oh man, so many options...I think being able to morph to different sizes would be useful. Like tall to short and tiny like an ant or giant like a T-Rex. How cool would that be to be jamming as a normal-sized human and then magically shrink and get through the pack?!
What would you choose for your last meal?
Being that I eat really healthy right now, I'd want anything that is loaded in carbs, fat, and sugar. A big steak with mac and cheese and cheesecake or something.
Anything else you want people to know about you?
My progression from fresh meat to where I am now in 4 seasons is proof that you can start anything new and scary as long as you're surrounded by supportive people. You don't have to be mentally strong or physically strong, but a bunch of strangers having your back and encouraging you is strength enough. I wouldn't take back a second of my experience throughout these past seasons.