DCRD's league spotlight member for the month of May is Hearno Evil! Hearno started her derby career with Crossroads City Derby and transferred to Duke when her family relocated. A versatile player, Hearno provides leadership on and off the track.
How did you get involved with roller derby?
I came to know roller derby while I was directing a camp for deaf/hard of hearing children through the Lions Club and my co-director was actually starting up roller derby in Las Cruces with her best friend. She encouraged me to come and watch a practice. I went and watched their practices, immediately fell in love, and began saving up to buy my first pair of skates.
How long have you been playing?
This was over six years ago, but three years in, during the last bout of the season (against Duke City, ironically), I had my sternum dislocated and my xyphoid process hanging on by a thread. This put me on the injured list. Since I was already on the injured list, I decided to go ahead and start my family and became pregnant with my beautiful little girl. I returned to derby last fall, this time with Duke City.
We're so lucky to have you! Tell us about the roles you fill for the league.
I am currently captain of the home team, the Disco Brawlers, and co-captain of the B travel team, the Juggernaughties. I also play as a blocker for the Muñecas. I am hoping to one day get back to where I was before I was injured and begin to jam again.
As a Juggernaughties co-captain, what is your vision for the team?
I hope to encourage the newer skaters to push themselves to levels they never thought possible and to find themselves through the Juggernaughties, to be ready to play for the Muñecas. I also hope to give these athletes a sense of leadership and encouragement to reach their potentials, to help them grow as all-around athletes and skaters, building team camaraderie and bonding.
The travel teams have been raving about the practices you lead—how would you describe your coaching style?
They have? (laughs)
I believe my coaching style is a reflection of my teaching style. Firm with structure but able to have fun and push the limits. It's important to build the foundation for skating, to have all the skills sharpened, to have endurance to continuously feed our bodies when it's exhausting on the track. I personally feel that I don't grow unless I am pushed, especially if it's someone that I trust and respect as a coach or teammate. I hope to be that person for my teammates as well; even if it's for one person, then I've helped make a difference. I'm also a firm believer in chain of command. This might be from my upbringing or from being a military wife. We have a coach, we respect what the coach says and decides. There's a reason they've decided on those drills, exercises, lineups, strategy calls, etc., and there's a reason we've elected them to lead practices or lead us on that track.
Tell us about your derby name.
When I joined derby, I struggled with coming up with a name for myself. A good friend of mine understood that I have a hearing loss (I have a deaf mother and I wear hearing aids), and understood that this is something I embrace about myself. I'm not ashamed of it, so why not wear it? She suggested the name "Hearno Evil." It also fits the disposition of my personality: I don't like to be surrounded with negativity, so I choose "not to hear evil". It was fitting.
How does your hearing loss affect your playing style?
I feel my hearing loss pushes me to have stronger track awareness. I lose the sense of hearing my surroundings while I'm on the track, and therefore I become more visually engaged. I think it increases my awareness of knowing where the jammer is and where my teammates are, feeling my teammates and the opposing players, and reading body movements better. I rely on my other senses out there. I'm often the last line of defense on the track but because I'm watching and calculating, I'm able to read the jammer (most of the time) as a blocker, and then I engage.
What can I do to be a better teammate to a deaf or hard-of-hearing player?
I've found when teammates truly understand where I come from with my hearing, their patience is amazing. I'm always asking for someone to repeat the drill if I didn't hear the coach call it out, and there are some girls who don't hesitate to repeat for me. Derby girls are so nice!
Also, touch me more on the track: most of the time, I can't hear you behind me calling something out, so move me to where you need me or get my attention so that I look at you and can read your lips.
What do you do, outside of derby?
I am a teacher. I'm currently working for the School for the Deaf. I'm also a mother to an amazing toddler. Last but not least, I am a wife to a combat vet who is amazing himself. We try to be active with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) which is also a non-profit that focuses on helping other veterans. This family is a busy one.
What have you learned from roller derby?
I've learned a lot from derby. Besides obviously learning about the sport itself and what it means to be an athlete, a leader, a teammate, and a role model, I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned what I'm capable of as a person, the strength I hold mentally and physically, what my limits are, what I'm good at and not so good at, what motivates me in derby and in life, and so much more. Not to mention all the friends I've gained from multiple leagues.
Lastly, what is your favorite thing about roller derby?
Geez, this is probably the hardest question. If I have to narrow it down to one thing, Id say I love how derby leaves me feeling when I walk away from a practice or from a game. The adrenaline, the camaraderie, the sense of pride from hard work, being a part of a team and accomplishing something together, and so much more.
Thank you for everything you do for us, Hearno Evil! We'll catch you at this month's Juggernaughties and home team games on the 28th!