Brawler of the Month of May: Maulie Walnuts

Check out our new monthly feature, Brawler of the Month, to learn more about your local roller derby league!

Tell us about your name and number:

Massachusetts is my home, but I’ll be a Jersey girl forever- it’s just in my heart. Paulie (Walnuts) Gualtieri, from HBO’s ode to NJ- The Sopranos, was my inspiration. He’s a good guy’s gangster: loyal, light-hearted, and lovable. So much so, you may forget that he’s also a maniac with a mean streak. That’s a mistake: he’s a goofball, but don’t f@*k with Paulie. I like to think it’s a perfect fit. The # came easily after that. I always wore 14 as a kid, and 14c just so happens to be my answer to the quintessentially “Jersey” question: “What exit!?”.

What do you love most about roller derby?

There is so much to love about derby— you don’t have room to list it all. I dig so many things about the sport (the athleticism required, that aggressive women are celebrated, etc.), but mostly, it’s the community of people that has kept me coming back. I’ve met so many fun, genuine, respectful people. I’m never sorry I showed up for practice. It’s a great workout, but it’s also like hanging out with a big group of friends three times a week!

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to try roller derby?

Just DO it. Seriously. Put aside the fear of being terrible, the reasons you don’t have the time, whatever it is that may hold you back or keep you from showing up those first few nights, and just GO. Grab a buddy for moral support. I promise you, whatever “can’ts” are rolling around your noggin’, you probably CAN. You just have to give yourself a shot!

How has roller derby changed you as a person?

This week will be my 1st “derbyversary” and I honestly can’t believe how much this sport has given me in that short period of time. ( you Bay State!!) Being a part of my league has helped me get back in touch with whole parts of myself that I thought I had lost or left behind. It’s been liberating. I’m more confident, more active, and more joyful, just having this thing in my life. Most importantly, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with myself and with failure. I don’t worry as much about being perfect or getting it “right” the first time- in all areas of my life. So what, if I fall in front of, like, everyone at practice? For me, right now, it’s a sport about getting back up.

Photo Credit: Grace McCurn