Olivia Vernon “Cherry Chainsaw” is the founder, coach and manager of the Cherry Bombs, a team that is part of Texas Roller Derby (TXRD), and a former skater. She was critical in the Roller Derby Revival in 2000 and was voted “Most Feared” by her teammates multiple times. She has also mentored the junior athletic derby team at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.
My Definition Of Success | Has your definition of it changed over the years and if so, why? Success means to me, that you have achieved goals and/or dreams that you’ve set for yourself. As a young person, I thought success was lots of money, and material wealth. Because, that is what was idolized, and or meant you had “power”. As I grew older I realized I always had the “power” to do whatever I wanted. It was using that “power” inside me to obtain the goal I wanted without having obstacles knock me down. And there were many obstacles, because that is how life works. Success to me means being wealthy in my goal achieving, and not materialistic gains.
What Drives Me | Being very hard-headed, stubborn, if you will. And a slight bit obsessiveness. I am lucky to be able to have a talent for not listening to people who say “no, you can not”. In fact, it makes me try harder than before, just to prove I can do it.
My Highlights | Having my two daughters, and being in a wonderful 20+ year relationship with my spouse. Seeing the roller derby team I founded win 2 championships, meeting Ann Calvello (legendary roller derby athlete from the 60’s and 70’s). Watching the jr.’s that I coach now grow into young, empowered women. Who are more informed, and better prepared for their life in the future. Which I was not privy to when I was young.
The Difference Between good And Great | Constant learning. Going back and refreshing on basics, all the way to continual learning from others in your field. Never assume you are the “best” of the best. Because, there is always someone out there who is better than you, and if you can learn from that person you will always be a continual top player.
My Talent | Negotiation, when I first started in roller derby I was in the “my way” mode. But, when you have over 30+ women to deal with, “my way” does not, and will not work. You have to be willing to negotiate with others. Obviously, you can lay down boundaries of what you’re willing to do, or not do. Because in the end, I am willing to at least get part of what I wanted than nothing. And I want to be clear, that I talk to people as I would want to be talked to.
Staying Inspired | I always think of Ann Calvello, she was one of the classiest women on the planet. I think of her strength, and her continual determination through her ups and downs in her life. I always watch what other roller derby leagues are doing, and try it out for myself. I continually try search out new information and learn.
Future Ambitions | I would like to start my own small business. And, or go back to school to continue my learning.
The Meaning Of Life | I believe the meaning of life is, do your best even when you really don’t want to. Be kind to everyone, even when there is reason not to. Always be true to yourself, and your loved ones.
The Best Advice I Have Received | “If you’re still mad after you get off the track, you didn’t play hard enough” ~ Ann Calvello