April 2014 Roller Derby Spotlight Val Capone

May 08, 2014, 3:59 p.m. (ET)


April 2014

Val Capone

Derby name & number:  Val Capone, #89

Hometown:  Sweet Home, Chicago

Personal website/journal/web log (blog) address: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­windycityrollers.com, chicagoredhotsderby.com, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Val-Capone/141133951609

Occupation:  I often wear various helmet covers by day and by night.  Beer Vendor at Wrigley Field, Daytime Bar Manager of Cobra Lounge, bartending at the private club at United Center for Blackhawks and Bulls games as well as helping run Bar Operations all summer long for various music festivals are the things that keep me busy when not on skates.

Career goals:  I’d love to one day be a Roller Derby Commentator full time, helping spread the love and knowledge of the game that has given so much to me over the years. 

Current league: I was the second or third skater recruited for the Windy City Rollers in 2004 and I just began my second season with the Chicago Red Hots.  I also have been coaching Chicago Bruise Brothers since January of 2013 and recently signed on to coach Puget Sound Outcast Derby for the 2014 season, both MRDA leagues.

Val CaponeYears involved in derby: About to hit my 10 year mark this July, showing no signs of retirement any time soon.  Eventually I’ll have to hang up my skates, but never will I hang up my mic or my coach’s hat.

Favorite derby position (blocker, pivot, jammer):  I would definitely say I love to take the track as a blocker, although it’s a great kick to wear the stripe while skating USARS ruleset.

When did you begin skating:   I began skating at about age 7 at the suggestion of my Grandma Alice.  I think I spent every weekend from age 7-15 at a rink.   Ask me to show you my chipped tooth smile sometime, earned while street skating at age 9.

Fondest memory of skating:   Geez, I’ve really had so many it’s hard to choose just one.  Skating the not-so victory lap after skating with Team Unicorn in Paris, against the Paris Rollergirls, has to be just about the tops.  When I realized that the sport I’ve loved so much became a worldwide phenomenon it brought me to tears.  Well, that and some Parisian girl shouted out “I love you Val Capone, you’re so SCARY!”  We lost that bout by 6 points, but that lap made it feel like the biggest victory I’ve ever experienced.

Future goals you hope to obtain as a skater:   I’d love to be able to be an asset as a point scorer.  I will wear the stripe or the star for the Red Hots, but it’s usually to give our core pivots & jammers a break.  I’d also like to see the Red Hots get a medal at USARS Nationals this year.  Last year we took fourth, so we’re almost there.  As a coach, I want to help the Bruise Brothers grow and help the Outcasts take the gold at the 2014 MRDA Championships.

Awards and/or honors received in roller sports:   

Windy City Rollers Fan Favorite (2005, 2009)

Seltzer Commissioners Award (2007)

Blocker of the Year, Manic Attackers (2007)

Ivy King Cup Champions (Windy City Rollers), Manic Attackers (2009)

Defensive Player MVP, Ivy King Cup (Windy City Rollers, 2009)

Announcer of the Year, Derby News Network (2009)

Bout MVP, Team Unicorn at Paris Rollergirls (2013)

Silver Medalists, USARS Region 3 Qualifier, Chicago Red Hots (2013)

Finished 4th at USARS Nationals, Chicago Red Hots (2013)

Men's Roller Derby World Cup Champions, Team USA coaching staff (2014)

Other sports you currently participate in:   Weight lifting and bowling supplement my Derby schedule.  Unless you count balancing 2 full time jobs, skating for two teams and coaching two teams a sport as I sometimes I do.

Who is your favorite sports figure:   I’m going to have to go with Mike Ditka on this one.  When I changed over to number 89 in 2012 it was in tribute to him.  He inspires me as a player, coach and commentator.  The man’s a legend!

Who is the person you most admire/greatest influence in your life and why:   Definitely my Dad, who goes by the name Jolly Roger that was given to him by Gene Simmons when he worked with KISS in the late 70s.  He has always been supportive of me on and off skates, no matter how foolish my endeavors may have seemed.  He always taught me to treat others how I’d want to be treated and to do so with respect and a smile.  He’s also hilarious and loves sports maybe more than I do.  He always reminds me that I can do everything and anything I want to, so long as I work hard and put my mind to it and never take no for an answer.  He takes pride in calling me “his daughter the linebacker” and I’m perfectly okay with that. 

List your hobbies:   I don’t have time for hobbies much, but I can slay a karaoke mic like nobody’s business.  Oh and I love collecting snow globes, smashed pennies, sweatbands and fanny packs while traveling.

Val CaponeWhat music do you listen to during training or competition?   My musical tastes are all across the board, really.  My mixes are heavy on the Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Dismemberment Plan and Rocket From The Crypt, but also Slayer and Iron Maiden.  Bjork is my favorite artist of all time and I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a member of the KISS Army since childhood.  If it makes me air guitar or dance on my toe stops I’m into it.

What makes you a unique and special person:   My Uncle Bud always told me it was my one dimple, but I like to think that it is my ability to always find the silver lining to every lousy situation.  I’m also excessively positive and take pride in being able to motivate others.

Do you have any pre-game rituals:  I listen to Hallowed Be Thy Name by Iron Maiden every game day while getting ready.  I then have some sort of combo of egg whites, cheese and avocado for breakfast while watching highlights of the ’85 Bears season with my little dog Yippie Kai Yay.


Most prized possession:  This may come as a bit of a surprise, but the first thing I’d save in a fire is a painting of five ballerinas that hangs above my bed.  My grandmother who raised me gave it to me shortly before her passing.

If you could pick one word to describe you, what would it be:  I guess I’d say persistent or positivity. 

Anything else you would like us to know about you:  I grew up on the road with major touring acts of the 70s & 80s since both my parents were roadies.  I think that explains my love for travel and my lack of jet lag when I do hit the road.

You recently traveled to the UK for a derby event. Can you tell us more about that?  I was lucky enough to be a member of the first ever Team USA Men’s coaching staff at the 2014 Men’s Roller Derby World Cup in Birmingham, England.  A few days prior to that, I was in Dublin working with Violent Bob and the ladies of Dublin Roller Derby.  The entire 10 days I was in Ireland and England all I could think of was how lucky I was and what a life changer that trip was.  Did I mention I got all sorts of teary eyed when the entire place chanted USA!  USA!  USA! as Team USA skated by to collect the gold?  Cause I definitely did.