Off the Track with Salem Playoff MVP, Luna Negra

Photo Credit: Jules Doyle

In the weeks leading up to WFTDA Championships in Milwaukee, WI, many fans wanted to know more about Salem Playoff MVP, Luna Negra.  As the Throttle Rockets Captain, she is known as a leader within the league, and a beast on the track. Off the track she’s a quiet, humble athlete, but we caught up with Luna to get the gritty details about what makes her tick.

When did you start skating?

I started skating in March of 2010.

Gosh, you are super fit. What other sports did you play?

I love sports. I love to run and mostly dance. People think I workout like crazy, but I don’t. I do go the gym quite a bit and I really do love to dance. I dance all the time! I love to salsa and bachata,  which is like a workout. The songs are 5 minutes long! Spinning and moving fast. Its so fun! I also try to eat smart. However. I do have a weakness for ice cream and steaks.

What does being a roller derby athlete mean to you?

I love being an athlete. It means so much to me. We put in so much time in training, skating, bonding, and connecting with each other as a team and league. We train hard. I mean hard; but I also couldn’t do this without my family. Sometimes, they make sure that I go to practice or hit the gym and eat. They want me to be happy and succeed. Sometimes, especially for the ASP, we train for years to reach a single goal. I trained for YEARS to make the ASP, and to get a chance to play at playoffs and I have dreamed of playing at Championships…This is very real and extremely important to myself, my team and my family.

Do you have any pre-bout rituals?

Hmm, well with the crazy derby schedule you can’t really have a routine. But I do like to eat the same things, listen to music and visualize and spend time alone time before bouts. I get really nervous and I don’t like people to see me so nervous so I listen to music and think about what I’m going to do on the track to calm my nerves and prepare.

Photo Credit: Jules Doyle

What was it like to hear your name as MVP of the Tournament?

Actually, I didn’t even hear my name called. I couldn’t hear anything! It was so loud and crazy in the arena. I was clapping with my teammates, and then all of a sudden everyone was looking at me and cheering. So I started cheering more because everyone was so excited; still having no idea that my name had been called. Then I am not really sure what happened after that. It was such a whirlwind. Things were being placed and taken out of my hands. There were a ton of pictures being taken. It was insane. It took me an additional two weeks to figure it all out. It’s extremely exciting and I’m very flattered the WFTDA chose me as the tournament MVP.

What was your favorite moment over the Playoffs weekend?

My favorite moment of the weekend was winning the 3rd game. We accomplished an important goal that we set and that felt SO good. I have trained for over three years for that moment – winning the game that sends the All-Stars to Championships. Some of my teammates have trained even longer than that, so it felt great to achieve that goal. I have never been so emotional over a win.

Sometimes, especially for the All-Star Program, we train for years to reach a single goal. I trained for YEARS to make the team. To get a chance to play at playoffs and play at Championships, this is very real moment, and an extremely important achievement for myself, my team and my family.

What do you think about when you are on the jam line?

My mind is quiet. I’m thinking about how I’m going to get lead jam and score points to help my team win each game jam by jam, point by point.

Photo Credit: Robert Bakie

How is the team preparing for Champs, and specifically for Gotham?

We are preparing for champs game by game. We are working on our fitness, work on our strategy and working on addressing the challenge at, game by game. We are prepping for Ohio and Gotham. Each team has different strengths and skills and we aren’t counting anyone out. We’ll take each game as it comes to us.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I think, maybe, that my derby name has nothing to do with being black. My name is the title of one my favorite salsa songs EVER!(Luna Negra, Rey Ruiz).