Featured Skater: Alexandra Slamilton
Two Rivers Roller Derby is a team made up of some badass people. Skating aside, the members of the team are some of the best people you could be around. (I don’t get paid to say these things). This week’s featured skater is Jessica McGinley A.K.A. Alexandra Slamilton, number 1781. We call her Slam.
She was one of the lovely people that was part of the Fresh Meat group when I joined this year. I am lucky to know her and now I get to watch her grow and say I have known her since the beginning of her skating career.
Slamilton really has an awesome personality; she seems to get along with just about anyone that she comes across. If you need a pep talk or a vent session about how you’re feeling, she is one of the people you want to migrate to. It is nice to be in the company of such an upbeat, positive person. Like most people, I’m sure life isn’t perfect but you would never know it because she always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude.
There is something almost calming about her. She seems to just have a great handle on things and, for a sport that is high intensity with a bunch of different personalities, Slam is kind of like a magnet, she can get all the people together.
She is part of several aspects of the team/league and seems to remain in a cool calm and controlled manner that eludes and carries over to the group. Although I find it hard to believe, she claims to not have been so great with time management prior to derby. How could the one that is super organized and a Spreadsheet Diva (you should see her bout production committee spreadsheets!) be bad at time management? I guess we’ll have to take her word for it.
She recently skated in her first bout after passing her assessments, and you would not have known it was her very first time in a bout or playing in front of a large group of people! She did great! We are super proud and excited to have Alexandra Slamilton #1781 on Two Rivers Roller Derby.
Learn more about Slam in her own words:
32, although I’ve lately people seem to think I’m in my 20s, which I’m A-OK with.
Skating skill level (prior to derby)?
Prior to joining 2RRD, I don’t think I’d skated since the mid/late 90s when the place to be on a Friday night was at the now-shuttered Warrington skating rink.
What do you do for a living?
I work for a small hydropower engineering company at which I have two roles: Media & Events Manager and Export Compliance Manager. I’ve been with the company for 10 years and it’s been great to grow with them, and to be involved in renewable energy. My coworkers have been supportive of my new derby habit, so hopefully we’ll be seeing some of them at our bouts!
It seems like you are always traveling (super jelly by the way! I volunteer to stow away for your next trip) How often do you travel?
I travel pretty often for work. The company has an office in São Paulo, Brazil and I’ve been lucky enough to travel there for two weeks this year and last year for a big event that we host and I organize there. I also organize the company’s presence at our industry’s trade shows so I get to travel a fair amount for that. I’ve been to Denver, Charlotte (NC), Seattle, Portland (OR), Nashville, Louisville, and Minneapolis. Non-work travel over the years has also taken me to Austin, New Orleans, Asheville, Atlanta, Belize, Aruba, and Jamaica, among others.
A couple years ago, my parents moved to Florida so I’ve gotten down to visit them a few times, and I’m lucky to have friends that love to travel and have the ability to. Since I’ve joined derby, it’s one of the first things I look for when I am traveling, be it for business or leisure. This past March when I was visiting my parents in Florida, I made it out to see Tampa Roller Derby‘s home opening scrimmage and to attend their boot camp the next day. (Shout out to my derby crush Tara Her Apart!) When I was in São Paulo, I reached out to the Gray City Rebels, who very kindly invited me to join them at practice (Obrigada! Besos!). I was recently in Denver on a business trip and got to see the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls home team scrimmage and practice with them 3 days while I was in town.
Coming up, I’m headed to San Antonio to visit a friend from college, and in October, I have friends heading to Austin City Limits so I’d like to get there one weekend. I also have plans to visit Belgium in December, and I’ll likely be taking a trip to visit my parents in Florida for Thanksgiving. You can bet I will be looking up derby teams and schedules wherever I go!
Is this your first time playing roller derby? What made you decide you wanted to try roller derby?
I first really learned about roller derby from Whip It (I know, I know!). I was living in Philly at the time so I started going to Philly Roller Derby bouts all the time and was a huge Broad Street Butchers fan. After moving up to Bethlehem – before 2RRD was even a team! – I went to a couple LVRG bouts, but then fell of out going. I saw a Facebook event for the winter 2RRD Recruitment, which happened to be a day after my birthday. I figured it would be a cool way to kick off 32 so I went to the meeting, and was sold. So that long story short, yes, this is my first time actually playing derby. My only regret is that I didn’t start skating or playing derby sooner!
What has been the best part about the experience so far? What about the worst if there is one?
The best part has been all of the amazing people I’ve gotten to know and call friends. Every single member of the 2RRD team has been so supportive and helpful and just a total GD joy to be around. Another best part is being on skates and learning how to play derby. I definitely still feel like a baby deer fumbling around sometimes, but the improvement from February 2 to now is amazing.
The worst part for me is internal. I, like most people, get really frustrated when I’m not good at something right away. I keep reminding myself that this takes time and practice and that I’ll only improve as long as I keep pushing myself to do the thing.
Have you noticed any changes within yourself since joining?
I think I’ve always had pretty solid self confidence, but derby has definitely improved it. I’ve proven to myself that I’m not too old to try new and fun physically intense things. The biggest change is that I’m starting to arrive early to things! I almost always run late, but since derby, I’m become much more disciplined with my own time management.
If you had to try and convince a person that was afraid of joining or skeptical (for whatever reason) what would you say to them.
This is the most fun thing that you could do! The support from the team is so empowering and we will very seriously make it as easy for you to join as possible, from letting you borrow gear to carpooling you to practice and working with you on whatever you need help with. Your success only helps the entire team succeed. We want you to get out on that rink and just destroy. We gon’ slay.
What are your other interests outside of your love of derby?
So based on the length of my answer to the traveling question, I love to travel. I’m so curious about literally all of the things, so I want to explore and learn as much as I can about everything. I’m also pretty into my dogs, craft beer, and the Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust, whose board I sit on as the Secretary. I’m also super into politics, music, art, podcasts, all things outdoorsy, and foodie adventures.
Your skater Name number and meaning of name how you came up with it.
I am Alexandra Slamilton, #1781. I’m a big ol’ history nerd: I had taken enough history credits in college that I’d inadvertently earned a second Bachelor’s in History (my declared major was Communications & Media Studies). *pushes glasses up nose*
I’m also slightly obsessed with Hamilton: The Musical, so Alexandra Slamilton was a no-brainer. Buckle up for a quick history lesson: The Battle of Yorktown was a pivotal moment for Hamilton when Gen. George Washington gave him command of three battalions. Hamilton’s successful leadership and tactical brilliance forced the British surrender, so 1781 seemed like a solid number to go with. I definitely feel the (self-imposed) pressure of living up to my namesake’s legacy when I’m out on the rink.
What are your jobs on the team?
I serve on both the Marketing and Bout Production committees, which really do go hand-in-hand. As part of Marketing, I have a part in maintaining the 2RRD website and in operating the Instagram and Twitter accounts, so follow us! I’m also working with the team’s WFTDA liaison so I can learn more about the Association and derby as whole.