Today is part two of two of my series of interviews leading up to tomorrow’s home opener for YOUR Enid Roller Girls at the Enid Convention Center. Today’s interviewee is Cheryl Fowler. Fowler is an interesting interview. She seems to have a history of being very athletic. She also struck me as being very passionate about two things. Competition and family; two things that seem to merge together with the Enid Roller Girls.
Route 60: Hello…
Cheryl: Hey! So….I’m new, but I’m old.
Route 60: Excuse me?
Cheryl: I started when they (Enid Roller Girls) started but I had to quit because I had babies…So, I have some insight for you! Lots of changes since then!
Compared to when we started and now…
Route 60: I love me some insight!
Nikki Sixxkiller: We didn’t know anything when we started.
Route 60: Like when you guys would go skate in the various neighborhoods?
Cheryl: Anywhere we could find.
Sixxkiller: We were skating 2 minute jams. We didn’t know to call it off and stuff. We were just skating for two minutes and we’d have 35 point jams.
Route 60: I love the picture, I’ll have to see if I can find it. It’s of the Roller Girls on some old neighborhood park. It’s classic.
*Sixxkiller leaves and returns to practices.
Route 60: So, what’s your skate name?
Cheryl: Mean Jean!
Route 60: How did you come up with your name?
Mean Jean: My middle name is Jean. I was raised with two older brothers, like 8 and 10 years older than me and it just made me really mean. I’m way nicer than I used to be, but…I used to be really mean.
Route 60: Were you a mean girl in high school?
Mean Jean: I beat up the bullies. I wasn’t a bully. I was friends with everyone.
Route 60: So, you’ve been on the team before. Tell me about that.
Mean Jean: When they were first getting together, I called Jamie and said “I need to skate.” I skated in Oklahoma City and was moving to Enid.
Route 60: How did you find out they were doing derby?
Mean Jean: I don’t remember. Facebook maybe. They had been watching derby. But we did not know jack about it (laughing). But now, he (Grant Garen) is amazing. It is night and day, what they spend their time doing. They are not joking about teaching this sport to people. And the funny thing is when we get new people in, we aren’t like, “Oh my gosh, look at her…she can’t skate!” These are our babies! Everyone is like a big family. We’re gonna help you skate. We’re gonna help you enjoy this and be safe about it. And it’s awesome! And we’re family friendly! One of the girls we just recruited was like, “I’m so happy to learn that!” In general, derby sort of has an undeserved reputation as being unfriendly to family. She was happy to see that. Most of us have kids. We want people to be able to bring their family. That’s why kids under a certain age are free to get in the door. And Enid is a family friendly town.
Route 60: What made you want to be in derby?
Mean Jean: Competition. I’ve been an athlete all my life. Track, cross country…weights. I was always running. There isn’t much to compete in when you are 35. Most of us are in our 30’s…
Route 60: You’re 35?
Mean Jean: Yeaaahhh! …..and it’s a fun girl thing to do. Because sometimes you think about going and hanging out with a bunch of chicks and it’s intimidating because girls are catty and mean. We’re not like that. It’s really athletic. And it’s affordable really compared to gym memberships and going out and drinking all the time. It’s just something to do. Running got boring to do and gyms got boring to me. This is NOT boring.
Route 60: Having played other sports, has it been harder to play derby?
Mean Jean: No, because I learn quickly. Plus, he’s a good coach. We had to start over because derby from when I was first with the team to derby now is not the same. Rules…how they set up everything. Plays. Everything is different. So, I had to learn a lot of stuff. I learn quickly though. But even if someone doesn’t learn quickly, he’s good at helping getting people started. That’s what I want to stress. It doesn’t matter if you can even skate. If you just show up, we’ll turn you into a Roller Girl! There’s different levels, but it’s not impossible really.
Route 60: Standard question…What’s your number? What’s the meaning behind it?
Mean Jean: 614. My daughter’s birthday is September 6th. And my husband’s birthday is October 14th and my son’s birthday is September 14th.