Who is Kate “Bananas” Santee besides the quiet thunder behind the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls’ (LVRG) Special Vixens Unit? This skater is this month’s rough and tumble LVRG Skater of the Month.
Starting with LVRG in January of 2011, Kate is entering her fourth season. We asked Kate how she got started with roller derby, and she stated, “It’s hard for me to pinpoint when or how I exactly got into roller derby. I had vaguely heard about the sport before and may have entertained the thought of playing a few times, but I wasn't aware of any teams in the area yet and I didn't take the notion of playing seriously at first because I didn't have much of an athletic background. In the months following my college graduation in 2010, I had something of a quarter life crisis—I had already struggled with depression before, and the emerging feelings of isolation and aimlessness were the cherries on top of a very sad sundae. Around this time I stumbled upon LVRG's fan page through someone's Facebook profile and it just happened to be around the time they were having an open recruit night, so I thought, "Why not?" Now it's nearly been three years of crazy good training and bonding with some incredible skaters that have all changed my life for the better.”
Captain of the Special Vixens Unit, Wayward Stay mentioned that “Kate improved over the 2013 season which paid off when she made the roster for her first official SVU bout. Kate fights hard for every new skill learned and has a strong will to keep improving. She has a never give up spirit that is welcomed on the track.”
|Photo by Keith Stanley|
Kate represents the story of passion and drive for roller derby. She is one of those players that never gives up and although challenges are presented, she continues to push through and make her mark on the team. When asked what advice to give new recruits for the team, Kate stated “it's going to take a lot of work, but it's totally worth it. And don't be afraid to fall! You can always pick yourself back up again.”
Kate also mentioned that as a new recruit, there are some really memorable experiences. “Experiencing my first power jam (as a jammer) towards the end of my very first official bout I played in was awesome. It was tough just to get to the point where I could play in a bout, but scoring points and seeing all the support I had from my team and our friends and fans made me absolutely giddy. I'm super grateful to you guys.”
Besides roller derby, Kate is a very talented artist. She has been drawing since a very young age. She stated that “from an early age onwards, cartoons and comics inspired me to tell stories through my art. I'm now gradually carving a niche for myself as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. This year I saw the release of my first published illustrations in the children's book Silly Nomads From Palmerston Close (available for sale on the publisher's website http://mohallandlewisllc.com/home), and I'll be doing a book signing with the two authors at the Moravian Book Shop on December 20. You can find more of my work at ksantillus.com, and I regularly update a blog with illustrations and sketches at ksantillus.tumblr.com”
Some other fast facts about Kate “Bananas” Santee:
1. She loves owls, and has a collection of owl memorabilia
2. She is a former Girl Scout and stayed long enough to earn the Gold Award
3. She can play the clarinet and is trying to teach herself the guitar
4. When she was in 10th grade, she went with her high school band to England to play with Her Majesty's Coldstream Guard.
Although the Lehigh Valley Rollergirls are on a break until 2014, you can come see Kate skate next season. For all of the information on bouts in the upcoming season, stay tuned to this blog and find out more at www.lehighvalleyrollergirls.comA special thank you to contributing Photographer Keith Stanley at Quick Draw Photography. Please visit his Face Book page here: