Interview with Chris Verdoorn ("CU Hittheground")

With a skating style described as controlled chaos, Chris Verdoorn from Fargo's very own Rock City Riot, plays roller derby from the heart. The Fargo Moorhead Junior Derby had a sit down chat with the veteran skater about derby life.

Please explain the inspiration and story behind your derby name.

When I was first coming up with ideas I wanted my name to be in it. I was listening to some punk music for inspiration, and there was this lyric that said, “Hit the ground running.” I really liked that and it got me thinking, so I added the CU. I really like how no one has anything like it.

What is your number?

13. It’s always been my favorite number, that and I don’t believe in luck. I’ve never been superstitious, I make my own luck.

What is your skate gear of choice?

Atom wheels and 187s [padding].

Do you have a pre-bout ritual?

Mostly going to Subway. Listen to some metal. Get me some alone time, some quiet time, even if it’s just sitting by myself in the corner of the locker room while I’m puttin’ my gear on.

What do you think about when you're lacing up your skates?

Hitting people, mostly. I think about jammers “smirky faces” and then removing it. (As he says with a smirk of his own.)

What is your motivational quote?

Naw. Don’t have one.

What is your theme song?

“My brain hurts” by Screeching Weasels.

Please share your best derby moment(s).

There’s a lot of them. The one that stands out the most is the first bout I skated in. I was jamming and I got tripped by one of my own skaters and I fell and I heard one of the announcers say, “CU hits the ground.” That’s when I realized my name could be used the other way too.

What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?

Played football in high school for a bit. Played a little bit of pond hockey. Skateboarding.

What was it that reeled you in during the early days?

Well, I knew a girl that skated for the women’s team that I worked with. She said they were starting a men’s team, and I didn’t know anything about derby. I asked, “Well do you get to hit people?” and she said yes. That was pretty much all I needed to know and I showed up for practice.

Tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.

The first bout I ever skated in we didn’t score any points at all in the first half and that motivated me to get better. I went on to win MVPs.

What is your position of choice?

Blocker. [I] just like hitting people. It’s easier.

How would you describe your derby playing style?

Never really thought about describing it. Whatever I skate like is just what comes out.

What is your signature move?

Blocking an apex jump. I have jumped the apex before to block a jammer.

What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?

First time I got MVP Jammer, we played Team Hate Machine. That was fun.

Who are your derby heroes?

Angus Beef because he was just kind of a representative of what derby is about.

What advice do you have for people who want to join roller derby?

Skate hard, turn left.

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Fargo Moorhead Junior Roller Derby, 3035 40th Ave S., Fargo, ND 59104