LOREN MUTCH: FROM ROLLER DERBY TO PARK SKATING!
It’s wild to see where modern day roller derby and park skating are after 20 years since the founding of the first wave of new roller derby leagues. Roller Derby was a very small niche sport in the early 2000’s that expanded dramatically in a short period of time with the release of “Whip It” in 2009. “Whip It” exposed roller derby to the world, inspiring the formation of amateur teams worldwide and culminating in the WFTDA Championships being aired live on ESPN2 in 2017, making it the first time contemporary women's flat track roller derby was aired live on American network television! The inevitable growth of roller derby lead to a new wave of park quad skaters through the formation and growth of CIB (chicks in bowls back in the day), an organization that spread the passion for quad skating out of the derby tracks to the streets and skateparks!
Whether through the pandemic that limited the play of roller derby or the eventuality of roller derby skaters retiring or looking for a less structured and dedicated lines of skating such as in parks, bowls or streets there are less and less skaters that park skate and play roller derby making those astonishing skaters that enjoy and excel in both even more rare and amazing.
Today we will chat to a dear friend who has been part of the S1 family for a long time, is one of the best roller derby players in the world who seamlessly evolved her skill to the parks and street; Loren Mutch aka Mutch Mayhem is one of my favorite jammers to watch and is an incredibly dedicated and skilled skater! Loren is one of a kind and brings a different perspective to roller skating while being a high-performance roller derby player for Portland’s Rose City Rollers.
We had the chance to have Loren answer some questions about her journey, what she enjoys from both disciplines and some advice for new skaters!
Q: When and why did you start skating?
A: When I was 14 years old I was lucky enough that a junior derby league was started in my hometown, and I started skating. I thought roller derby sounded so cool and empowering, so I joined the league. I fell in love with it when I realized how passionate and welcoming the community was. Everyone came together purely for the love of the sport, and I felt like I belonged there.
Q: What is the thing that fulfills you the most from roller derby?
A: The most fulfilling part about roller derby is the connection that I have with my teammates. Derby is hard. We train day in and day out and go through battles together. Final tournaments like Playoffs and Championships are where we get to see all our hard work come to fruition. That is where we get to trust the hours of training we've put in over the course of the season, and the pay off feels rewarding. My teammates keep me motivated and I couldn't do it without them.
Q: How did you startpark skating and what's your favorite thing about it?
A: My first-time park skating on quads was in 2017. Then, I continued to dabble in it during every derby off-season after that, but it wasn't until the pandemic that I really dove in and committed to it. I've been in love with it ever since. My favorite thing about it is the freedom and creativity that comes with it. When it comes to skating, the possibilities are truly endless, and that's what I love about it.
Q: Do you feel these two modalities complement each other? Why?
A: Even though both roller derby and park skating are done on quad roller skates, they couldn't be more different. Being good at one doesn't necessarily mean you'll be good at the other. I'd say one way that they complement each other is by just being on skates in general makes you more comfortable on them, and builds confidence.
Q: What's the advice you'd give to anyone starting their skate journey?
A: To a skater starting their skate journey, my advice is to compete with yourself, instead of competing with others, and that goes for both parks and derby. Remember to have fun with it, do it for the love of skating, and remember your why.
Q: What's your next goal as a derby player, and as a park skater?
A: As a derby player, I'm always looking for ways to challenge myself and improve my game. As someone who has been playing for 15 years, the gains are few and far between. I look for ways to expand my "skill tool bag" so that I have as many ways to deal with different defensive walls as possible. When it comes to parks, I have been working on upping my street game, especially tricks on bigger rails. My dream trick is an invert though.
Q: How would you describe your skating?
A: In derby I'm known as a fast and agile player with quick and powerful jukes. I don't know if I have found my personal style in parks/street skating yet, but I love to skate powerfully, while feeling relaxed at the same time.
Check Loren’s progress and cheer her up on her socials: @mutchmayhem !!
Loren tells her Skate Story and shreds Manzanita Skate Park during Spring Cup 2023