Meet the Dames; Grumpy Cates

Grumpy Cates

1.What‘s the day job?

I’m a librarian at Aston University – and that doesn’t mean I sit around reading all day! My job involves teaching students, managing the library collection, answering enquiries and supporting academics.

2. How do you fit in Roller Derby with your home life?

It’s pretty easy as I’m single and live alone right now. The days are long when I go to practice straight after work but I don’t think my cat minds too much!

3. How long have you been a member of BBD?

I’ve been with the Dames for 6 months now, but before that I skated with the Dolly Rockit Rollers in Leicester for a year. The great thing about roller derby is that if you move city there’s immediately a new group of friends to get involved with!

4. How/Why did you choose your Derby name?

I’ve just changed it to Grumpy Cates.

Previously my Derby name was Drew E Decimaul which was a play on words, based on the Dewey Decimal system that libraries use to classify books. Basically, I’m a geek who identifies with Grumpy Cat.

5. What’s the best thing about being a Dame?

The friendship, definitely. When I moved to Birmingham last year I didn’t know anyone here, but the Dames took me under my wing and I immediately had lots of people to care about and who care about me. I’ve met such a wide variety of people that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet in any other kind of social group.

6. It’s a tough sport – have you had any major injuries?

I had a bruise on my bum over a year ago that was bigger than my hand! And a trip to A&E to get my wrist x-rayed after a fall. Nothing broken though and nothing major has happened to me (yet!).

7. What’s your position in the Dames?

I’m on the referee crew, which is loads of fun because I still get to skate, and I have the added fun of giving skaters penalties and sending them off track. Playing on the team doesn’t catch everyone’s fancy, so reffing is always a great alternative if you still want to be involved in the league. I’m also Head NSO (which stands for Non-Skating Official), which means I co-ordinate people officiating the off-skates roles at games. These are things like timing skaters in the penalty box, keeping track of the score, timing the game etc.

8. Does the company you work for support your involvement in the Dames?

Yes, absolutely! They’re all very amused by my strange hobby. I’ve not managed to convince any of my colleagues to take up the sport yet though!

9. How do your family feel about your involvement
with Derby? do they worry about injury etc?

My parents think I’m a bit nuts but just leave me to get on with it.

10. With #ThisGirlCan BBD have had ‘fresh meat’ days to expand the Dames – how do you feel about this batch of Rookies?

Our latest Dames are great! They’re picking the skills up super quickly and have already started to buy their own gear – which means they’re already dediskated to the sport!

11. What is it about Derby that is so addictive?

It’s definitely the whole spirit and atmosphere. It sounds cliché, but there are all these women who are giving it a go and doing it for themselves. People who have never been into sport or worn a pair of roller skates in their lives are coming along, getting involved and having fun. That gives me warm fuzzy feels.


Welcome to the home of the Birmingham Blitz Dames! We're an all-female, full-contact, flat track roller derby team based in Birmingham in the UK. We skate fast and we hit hard! Our league is skater run and owned - and we're proud to work and play as a team, and compete at the highest level. We take women from all backgrounds and train athletes. Whether you've played roller sports all your life or never tried on a pair of skates - if you'd like to join a great team and play a fast-paced, hard-hitting, athletic sport, come and join us! See you on the track!

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