Featured Skater 2018: Famke Jams’Em

Name:  Famke Jams’Em  (pronounced “Fam-Kah”)

Number: 68

Team History: 2018 will be my first full season.

Year you started roller derby: 2017

Where are you from originally? Oh ya know, super local eh!

Name a fun little known fact about you: I’m a Croatian Princess, holding out for a hero, a white knight upon a fiery steed.

How did you get involved with roller derby?  I did Fresh Meat in the early days of the league but couldn’t fully commit just yet. Last season I ran into some of the skaters at the art auction at the KBC for the Houghton Skatepark fundraiser and after chatting a bit they convinced me to come to a practice and lace up some skates. (It really didn’t take much convincing!)

How did you pick your name? I’m a movie nerd, and Famke Janssen has been my favorite actress ever since I saw her in GoldenEye. In the movie her character has killer thighs (literally) and drives a bright red Ferrari. Who wouldn’t want to be her!?

What is your pre-derby sports/skating background? I ride horses, did two seasons of track in high school, and have absolutely no skating history other than going to the outdoor rinks a couple of times as a kid and falling a lot. Does stacking hay in the barn count as a sport?…

Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby?  My rookie year was a lot of fun, made a bunch of new friends and learned a lot about myself and my abilities. So far I’ve skated in two mixers, The Solar System Smackdown (KRG hosts) and Snow Brawl Mixer (Fox Cities Roller Derby in Wisconsin) and one tournament; Mitten Kitten Mashup. I feel like I learn something with each bout I play in, be it better track awareness or better form/footwork. There is always something to take home other than well earned bruises!

Do you have a pre-game ritual?  I get a weird calm but nervous feeling. I do some deep breathing, crack some jokes with my teammates, say random things like “little hand says it’s time to rock and roll”…

Do you have a favorite motivational quote?  By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged.” – Sir Alexander Dane

What is your position of choice?  Blocking for now, I haven’t tried jamming in a bout. Yet… I’m getting a little more experience with jamming during practice, which is terrifying and exhilarating.

How would you describe your derby playing style?  I’ve been told I’m big and strong and hit pretty hard when I make a connection. My style is definitely in the developmental stage, I still have so much to learn! One day I’ll have my “show me paint the fence!” Karate Kid moment.

What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track? Right now just having the courage to be on the track, playing in front of a crowd, is my biggest accomplishment. “It’s 100% pure adrenaline.”

What is your job outside of roller derby? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?  I work at MTU. My derby number is a shout out to the department I used to work for (Public Safety) when I started derby last season. They were very encouraging and supportive.

What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby?  Go for it! It’s not easy, so even when you think you can’t do it, just keep your head up, butt down, and keep skating!

And lastly, favorite places in the Keweenaw?  Camping anywhere on the shore of Lake Superior with my dog Kia, riding through the backwoods on my horse Jedi, and Brockway Mountain during the spring hawk migration.