Krysten Lapid Will Jam You Up

The Cincinnati Rollergirls blocker has forged strong bonds and found community with her roller derby teammates.

Photograph by Devyn Glista; photo composite by Emi Villavicencio

Krysten Lapid has become one of the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ most fearsome blockers since her debut in 2019. As “Krystonite #10” (so named because she says she can “make any Superman weak”), she has quickly jammed her way to the top of the class and forged lifelong bonds with her teammates.

How did you get started with the Cincinnati Rollergirls?

My debut season was 2019, and I’d started in mid-2017 with zero skating experience. I met some skaters at Cincinnati Comic Expo when they were skating around promoting their season that year, and one of them said, “Hey, we have this Monday night lesson.” At that point in time, I couldn’t go to Monday night, and a year passed. My friend who was with me that day was like, “Did you ever go try that roller derby thing? You should try it.” I honestly didn’t even know what roller derby was—I knew it was a team sport and they were on skates. And I was like, “OK!” I went to a Monday night practice and never stopped going.

What do you love about roller derby?

I really fell in love with derby because of the community that it brought around. That’s why I keep going. I’m also on the competitive side, so derby helps me get out a little aggression. We have a phrase in derby: I love hitting my friends. It’s a term of endearment.

Do you remember your first time on the track?

My first game was pretty memorable because I was scared to go out in my first jam. You know, fresh meat. And it was very comforting to have the players I had around me at that time. They were like, It’s OK, you got this. We’re going to do this. It’s just comforting to be around my teammates, and I always just think about that every time I go out. These are all my friends out here, and they’re here to support me. I’m here to support the newbies. Just that tight-knit community that gives me a little heartwarming thing before I go out.

What inspired the toothy face paint you wear during jams?

I wanted to bring in some of my Filipino culture. The Philippines was conquered by Spain for about 300 years, and pre-colonization we were known as a tattooed people. There was a lot of face painting, face tattooing, and body tattooing. So what I wear is their crocodile teeth—in pre-colonial time, crocodiles were revered as your ancestors and as spiritual creatures. It was very intimidating for warriors to have crocodile teeth on their face to scare the enemies.

What were your favorite moments from the last season?

After COVID, last season we started off a little bit slow. It was really nice to get back into it. We sold a ton of tickets. As a player, it was really exciting to see people wanting to come out to watch us. This season, I won back-to-back MVP blocker awards. After each game, it’s tradition for each team to pick out an MVP blocker, somebody who stuck out on the opposing team as an outstanding blocker or somebody who was just in the way a lot. We also choose an MVP jammer. It was exciting for me because I had I hadn’t won one, so these were my first awards. And it just felt really good to be like, Wow, oh my gosh, I’m doing great!

How can folks get involved?

I came into the team without any skate experience, so anytime someone asks I always try to convince them to come try it. We have Monday Night Derby at The Place in Colerain Township. It’s a lesson every Monday night for every level of skate experience. Some people come in from a different team and try to feel out if they want to go back to derby again, and there are others who have some skating experience. It’s a nice way to start in roller derby!

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