My very first recollection of CHEAP THR!LL was filtered with a warped sense of camaraderie. “Wow,” I thought the first time I saw her, “she bought the same crappy skates that I did.” Like most, I had not been on skates since I was twelve, and was ignorant to the importance of such things as wheel, trucks, bearings, etc. I purchased the first pair of skates I found at a sporting goods store, and did they suck. It wasn’t until I actually upgraded into new skates that I discovered the true worth of using the right kind of equipment. I pointed this out to CHEAP, “I know,” she said, with an intent look on her face, “but these were the only ones I could afford. I’m saving up for a better pair.” It was an expression that I would become accustomed to seeing on her-one of resolution and grit.
CHEAP, like many others who first joined The Big Easy Rollergirls, was not the most proficient skater. Like everyone else, she struggled through cross-overs, maintaining her center of gravity and skating low, but unlike some, CHEAP skated non-stop. Her skills exploded! She kept posting on the BERG board for “free skates” at Airline Skate Center and skates in the park. At the time, The Big Easy Rollergirls were on their third wave of skaters. Katrina wiped out the first batch. The inaugural meeting where it was announced, “This is going to be a lot of work; it’s more than skating and looking good” wiped out the second batch. Those who had been in it since the beginning were getting tired; CHEAP injected a new brand of jubilance into the league. In a group of unknowns, CHEAP brought people together, whether it be for lunch after practice, swimming at her apartment complex, or skate practices on the side; she was always willing and ready to give it her all. When we practiced at the CAC in the summer of 2006, in their dusty, sweltering back room, I noticed CHEAP never griped. She was just grateful to be skating.
The first time I actually saw CHEAP outside of work (and without skates on) was when I stopped by The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen in the French Quarter for dinner. First off, she looked downright gorgeous without a helmet on (not that she doesn’t look fetching with one on, but when you get accustomed to seeing someone in 90 degree weather in full gear it throws your perspective off). CHEAP, of course, greeted me and my friend with great spirit and promptly showed us how she kept The BERG schedule cards by her work station so she could hand them out to customers. “I talk derby up as much as possible,” she proclaimed. If you knew CHEAP, you couldn’t help but notice her natural ease and charm with people, but it was the first time I witnessed it outside of our derby group. Customers of all backgrounds came into the restaurant and greeted her like a long lost friend. They asked what station she was working in so they could sit where she was. I could over hear her chatting with them, talking about derby, and frequently pointing me out to her customers as another “derby sister.” I was (and am) continually being impressed by CHEAP.
CHEAP, despite having a full-time job and going to school, was always willing to lend her valuable time to BERG. And she never complained. We were still in our beginning stage and every bit of help was crucial. Whether it was rockin’ the penalty wheel at One-Eyed Jacks for our very first fundraiser (not only did she “own” that wheel, but also gained a slew of new fans)
volunteering for a clean-up in City Park
washing cars to raise money
or lending her infectious personality to get up at 5AM to do a radio spot (The DJ was clearly taken with her, out of the number of skaters he saw at our press event, he specifically remembered her).
It was a no-brainer to elect her as out premier roller girl of the month.
As we got ready to prepare for our first bout, I shot CHEAP’s photo along with some other skaters for our bio page. The other skaters had it easier. Working in the August heat in New Orleans, I tried to keep the shoots as quick as possible. However, when CHEAP showed up, she attracted the immediate interest of children and animals. As always, CHEAP kept smiling.
When it came time to bout, CHEAP wowed everyone with her intense derby drive coupled with her admirable sense of fair play. She’s the first person to slam you down during a game and the first person to give you a hug afterward. And that belch….. well, it’s something you have to experience for yourself.
CHEAP THR!LL is loyal, dedicated to improving this world, hysterically funny and has this wicked kind of innocence that is so rare. To know her, is to love her. To get blocked by her on skates is to respect her. To count her as a friend, is to consider yourself very lucky.
Unfortunately, roller derby has its risks. Earlier this month, CHEAP broke her leg in three places.
Even in the emergency room, she continually cracked jokes throughout her ordeal (even managing to pop off some vulgar witticisms).
But without insurance, it has left our dear CHEAP with a tremendous amount of medical bills (and you thought college was expensive).
So, please join us, all day, this Wednesday, January 31st at The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen in CHEAP THR!LL’s honor. In the French Quarter at 95 French Market Pl. Her employers have generously agreed to donate 25% of their profits that day for CHEAP! See, this is the kind of benevolence she inspires!
I have always loved LPK, hands down they make the best shrimp caesar salad in the city. To view their fabulous menu, go here.
Come out, eat drink and don’t be cheap! You might even catch a fellow roller derby girl.
If you are unable to come out and enjoy some good food and drink, you can donate directly to CHEAP:
Donate to CHEAP