Jun 2015 29

Hello, my name is Atomic Bombshell, and I am a geek.

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To be quite honest, I can’t say that I’m really all that ashamed of being a geek. Quite the opposite. In the wonderful words of Simon Pegg (whom you may know from Star Trek and Shaun of the Dead):

“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”

Being able to love what you love and never have to act like you’re too cool for school? Sign me up!

I’m also a person who never quite felt like she belonged.

The hunt for a tribe is one that most people are familiar with. I had heard of this crazy roller derby thing from a few different places, but I’d always felt like I wasn’t tough enough, or brave enough, or badass enough. Derby girls were the next level of awesome in my mind, and I wasn’t quite sure that I was cool enough to join in. Without league members like KillaBee and Anklebiter, that image would have stayed in my mind forever. I’m very glad to say that isn’t the case.

I decided I needed my own hero- and because I’ve always loved the idea of having a secret identity, I decided to become my own.

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I seized my courage, bought a pair of skates and in October 2014, I signed up for Fresh Meat with the South Side Derby Dolls. I found a group of people who had named their travel teams The Force and The Empire (I have a deep and abiding love of Star Wars, borne from a father who tricked me into watching Episode IV when I was 7 with the promise of a princess). And I found teammates who had named themselves like Marty McDie, Sailor Doom, Gnarley Quinn, Sin Siti and Bruise Wayne… It was obvious right away that these were my people – I’d found my tribe.

League Photo

When I found out that the League would be attending Supanova in Sydney, I was all over it like a rash. Any event that celebrates the aforementioned awesomeness of being a geek is a-okay with me, and the fact that my league was going to be in the thick of that awesomeness, I was more than happy to give up my time and promote the awesomeness of roller derby.

I spotted plenty of Harley Quinns (and there was one Harley that stood out in particular- a New 52 Harley Quinn on roller skates!), a few Jon Snows (thankfully SPOILER ALERT still walking and breathing). I got selfies with Princess Belle, Kaylee Frye (my all time favourite Joss Whedon character), Thor and Captain America.
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I was like a kid in candyland with all the cosplay, but that wasn’t really what stood out for me. The most intriguing and interesting thing that happened when I manned the booth was chatting to people and seeing that moment. That moment when you chat to a person who is staring at the booth, looking a mix of intrigued and shy. Someone who was once like me- fascinated by derby, but not quite sure if they’re enough of a badass to actually give it a go… Someone who is unashamedly geeky, on the search for a tribe; and someone who maybe might see if our “cupcakes and rainbows” roller derby league is the place for them. Roller derby has been an absolutely transformative experience in my life and I really, really hope that I played a part in someone strapping on a pair of skates and becoming their own superhero.

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My choice in my derby name is quite obvious… I love the 1950s and I’m pint sized. I’ve had more than one person ask about my derby number. I’m not an ’84 baby and the 0 at the front doesn’t really make much sense. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an 0-8-4 is an Object of Unknown Origin. Thor’s hammer was one in the first Thor film, as was the Obelisk, The Plasma Particle Beam and Skye in the television offshoot of the movies, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. This year, one of Supanova’s guests was Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Dr Jemma Simmons on SHIELD. I couldn’t help myself, I had to have a photo. I very nervously walked into the booth, my Southside shirt in hand. I’d barely finished explaining that I play roller derby and I’d chosen my number because of the show before she’d whipped the shirt out of my hand and held it up to the camera. Needless to say, it was the Best. Day. Ever.

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In summary… Southside Derby Dolls are awesome. Being a geek is awesome. Finding your tribe is awesome and always remember, no power in the ‘verse can stop you.

Love and derby kisses,

Atomic Bombshell xx