By Donna Parker
By day, Megan Collum is a mild-mannered office manager for Meridian Development Partners in New York City. Come nightfall when she dons a helmet, knee pads and Gotham Girls Roller Derby league uniform, Megan, who received a bachelor’s degree in business administration (international) from Trinity in 2001, becomes Megahurtz – a fierce blocker, keeping the competition away from her “jammer,” who scores the points for her team, the Brooklyn Bombshells.
“It’s exhilarating because you have a sense of the hunt. You’re in this pack of swarming skaters and everybody is trying to get you, while you’re trying to make that ‘kill’ on the opposing jammer – it’s like a game of cat and mouse,” says the adventurous Megan, who plays in front of sold-out crowds on Saturday nights once a month in the Big Apple.
“Roller derby has been reborn as a real sport. It used to be much more of a spectacle, but we’ve worked hard to make it a legitimate sporting event,” she adds.
One for which she trains like an Olympian, practicing several nights a week, sticking to a strict no-processed foods diet, cross-training with activities like yoga and Pilates, and receiving acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy to keep her body ready for the next hard-charging block.
“I’ve had to step up my game since I first got involved in derby, as a founding member of the Alamo City Roller Girls in San Antonio, several years back,” says Megan, who observes an astounding difference in the level of competition between the San Antonio and New York leagues.
“More people up north are inclined to have skating experience through hockey and speed skating. There is a phenomenal talent pool that is very professional, polished, and passionate about what they do. I think that has a lot to do with why our league is ranked number one in the country for the second year in a row,” says this enthusiastic skater who once called roller derby the “anti-Junior League.”
Megan moved to New York several years ago for a total lifestyle change – which she got – and she now operates at “high frequency,” making vacations a vital part of sustaining her active lifestyle. Single, she dates on occasion, but says potential dates must understand that, with a rigid training schedule and games frequently on Saturday nights, she really only has one or two nights free per week to see anyone.
“It does make you selective on whom you choose to date, as time is so precious. It’s very hard to date in New York because everyone is so busy and time is of such a high value. It’s easy to meet people, but difficult to make the time for a real connection.”
Megan enjoyed her college days in San Antonio, making many friends and falling in love with the city and the neighborhood surrounding Trinity, even making a stake in the local community by purchasing multi-unit properties in the nearby historic districts shortly after graduation.
Certain professors had a profound impact on her life, such as Kim Robertson, department of business administration, and Brooks Hill, department of speech and drama.
“I always loved the informality with which Dr. Robertson taught the marketing courses and the anecdotal experiences he shared and the interest he showed in his subject.”
As for now, Megan says, “I had no idea that I would be playing roller derby at 30 years old, but derby has been a channel for me to have an impact on the community at large.”
“There have been so many instances in my roller derby experience that have lessons from Dr. Hill’s Persuasion class about the elements of social movements and the characteristics of good leaders. As a skater-owned and -operated community, roller derby is a social movement that is sweeping across the country, bringing women together as a powerful collective force, one of which I’m extremely proud to be a part.”You may e-mail Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org