Q & A with Katya Lookin
The power and passion that Katya Lookin brings to the derby track is the stuff of Hollywood sports films. Take note, Drew Barrymore. In her first season, the Naptown standout gained the respect of fans and teammates alike—as a fearless leader who isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get the job done herself.
Below: in Sioux Falls, SD photo: Marc L
What kind of sports background do you have?
As a kid, I played all kinds of recreational league sports like basketball and softball. I swam on the local swim team, but I loved soccer the most. I took a long break from athletics while I was in high school to pursue a good college, and again in college to pursue trouble, and when I was done with college I had to pursue a good job. I eventually realized that not moving my body wasn’t cutting it for me, and working out at the gym sucks if I don’t have a “reason.” So I started playing hockey. I’ve also studied Tae Kwon Do and ashtanga yoga, and I had a very brief run-in with rugby.
How did that segue to roller derby?
When I saw my first NRG bout, I was blown away by what was happening on the track. I thought to myself, “I bet I can do that.” It was the combination of hockey and rugby that did it to me. I knew I could skate fast on ice—how different could this be? And I’ve been tackled by some serious goons with no protection but a mouth guard—really would this hurt so bad? Ha! By the time I realized what I’d really gotten myself into, I was already in too deep.
NRG fans get to watch you tear up the track as a powerful jammer and blocker. What they don’t get to see is you in the locker room just before the bout, firing up the team with one of your electrifying pep talks. Where does that come from?
I am passionate, and I like to share. I learned about the importance of pep when I was playing a house league championship soccer game. I was one of the oldest girls on the team and good friends with the coach’s daughter, so I slipped into a leadership-like role. We were getting whipped, having let two goals by in the first 15 minutes. Here we were, the last game of the season, people were getting upset, and there were some tears on the field. It sucked for me to see everyone stop doing what they loved because of the score, and we still had a lot of game left to play. I let everyone know this was about having fun and kicking the crap out of our opponents (figuratively) regardless of how that played out on the scoreboard. Well, hell, we came back and annihilated them 5 to 2. I believe in the power of personal fire. And at the risk of sounding hokey, I’m honored that the team gives me their ear before a bout.
Are there any new skills or special tricks you’ve been working on for the new season?
Drew Barrymore or Ellen Page?
Zoe Bell (Bloody Holly).