Coach Mikey Likes It

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Mikey Likes Hit #40

How did you pick your name and number:  I struggled with a name until a teammate came up with it.  I think it’s appropriate… growing up, I used to hear “hey Mikey, he likes it” from kids at school mimicking the Life cereal commercials, so I was already used to it.  Add the fact I like the contact aspect of derby and it fits.  The number is my age the year I started skating.

Charity of Choice: There are many worthy organizations that do wonderful work, and it is difficult to pick one.  Groups whose mission it is to lift people out of poverty, overcome drug/alcohol abuse, or help the abused escape an unsafe situation is something I strongly support.  I think we are each drawn to specific charities due to someone in our immediate circle who was directly affected by abuse, addiction, or disease.  I have seen a family member deal with the ravages of Parkinson’s, and another struggle with alcoholism, so these are things that are important to me, but all of the items mentioned above are just as vital to the health of the community.

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI, from birth to 2016; moved to Cudahy, WI.

Birthday: 02/17/70

Occupation: Fiber Services Technician for Spectrum Business, Captioning Assistant for CapTel, Inc.

Pets: 1 cat – minus a few teeth – but in good health for her age.

Derby wife: Bonesy & Lady HuHa were my two derby wives when we started the league.  We had a lot of laughs with it and I miss them.

Derby Crush: For me, many of my teammates on the Milwaukee Blitzdkrieg were instrumental in giving me confidence, and showing what I could aspire to become with continued effort.  I also have great respect for the Brewcity Brewsers rollergirls, and have made many friendships over the years with some amazing people. If I had to pick, I’d say Braaainz of the Blitzdkrieg, for being like a brother and watching my back in the trenches, and Johnny Blockran from the BCB.  She is my derby sister from another mister, who came up from nothing like me, and made it on the roster of the former champion Crazy 8’s for many seasons.  I love them both.

Derby experience: Started in 2010 with the Milwaukee Blitzdkrieg and skated with the league until stepping away in 2013, taking time off to heal, recharge, and assist with the new Racine team.  I joined Root River at their inception and began instruction as a skating official, but transitioned into training and have been in that role since.  I love to skate, and love to share the passion for the game with others.  Seeing new skaters find their way and gain the skillsets to become boutable is something that gives Icy, Mayhem, and I great satisfaction.  It is a labor of love for us all. 

Worst Derby injury: Probably my rotator cuff, because it caused lingering issues in that arm long term, but a spinal bruise from an opposing blocker falling on my back required physical therapy and about six weeks to heal. 

Non-derby hobbies: Football, volleyball, bowling, trap shooting, collecting and playing vintage video games and consoles, flea markets and rummages, anything from the 40’s to the 80’s, exploring small town shops and attractions.

Favorite…

Song to skate to? For some reason, I like skating to Dynamite by Taio Cruz.  Not sure why but it’s fun.  Also the song all the jam skaters at Rollaero line up and skate to, but I cannot remember the name. 

Movie?  Hard to say really I like a lot of mystery / sci-fi stuff and love anime and martial arts movies.  Instead I enjoy audiobooks, as I don’t have much free time to watch TV or see a movie.  Love listening to novels / Sherlock Holmes / old radio dramas when I drive.

TV Show? Forensic Files, Forged in Fire, Star Trek, History channel documentaries, and retro shows like Emergency!, Quincy, and Colombo.  They set the standard for dramas today, and I love the dated technology and lower-tech tools they have available to get the job done.  No internet or cell phones, but things still got solved and people still got saved.  It might have taken longer, but that is the era I grew up in, and I enjoy seeing the nostalgia I guess.

Drink? No soda for me whenever possible.  I used to drink Diet Mountain Dew like water, but finally broke free.  Sometimes I have a diet Shockwave, but often green tea, and Snapple Half & Half (they’re basically Arnold Palmer’s).  Also Bai Pomegranate, Lemonade, Coconut with Lime, and Coconut with Pineapple.  Once in a while a loaded Bloody Mary extra spicy or an Angry Orchard, but usually I stay away from alcohol.  Water intake is better but needs to improve.

Advice to anyone thinking of joining? I did not know how to skate when I started… at 40 years old I began from scratch.  Watched a BCB home bout in Milwaukee and INSTANTLY fell in love with the sport.  Joined the fledgling men’s league and literally crawled the walls until I could get my bearings and become comfortable on skates.  If you are willing to try something outside your comfort zone and have a single-minded purpose to succeed, you can achieve almost anything.  Derby was the most difficult thing I have ever done, but despite setbacks I would not give up, and practiced/open-skated whenever possible to reach my goal.  Age is just a number… if you are healthy and have the heart and desire to play this game you can and will be successful.  If you put forth 100% effort each week and maintain a positive attitude, you will be amazed at what you can overcome and accomplish.  I love to skate, and I love derby, but some of the most memorable and satisfying parts of my 7 years in the sport is meeting new people, some much different than you normally associate with in daily life.  It helps open minds and change perspectives towards individuals that are different than you.  That is something I have learned many times over.  No matter what walk of life or level of ability we are a family on this team, and we take care of our own.  Some of the nicest, most giving and caring people I have ever met are in this sport.  We may not look the same, or talk the same, or even like the same things, but we are bound by our common love for skating and for each other.  It is why Icy and I and our veteran membership have stayed so long, and why we continue to stay committed to the team and its ideals.  Through shared struggle and commitment we empower each other to grow physically, mentally, and emotionally, and become stronger together than we could be alone.

As a coach, I love to see the confidence of new skaters as they fight their way through nervousness and self-doubt, awakening their inner warrior and utilizing untapped strengths and skills.  The game of derby is as much mental as it is physical.  I cannot stress that enough.  When we fail in our minds eye, we are our own worst enemy, and can sabotage ourselves before we ever set foot on the track.  It is so important to stay positive and believe in yourself and your teammates.  Everyone learns skills and techniques at a different pace, and everyone is better at certain things and weaker in others.  That is why we rely on our teammates to maximize the things we do well, and minimize the things we don’t.  No one is expected to do it all, or be good at every aspect of the game.  Do what you do well, improve the things that need work, and rely on each other to enhance the chance of victory in each jam, and in the bout.  Never let success make you complacent, and never be afraid to fail.  That is how we learn and achieve greatness.