Taylor High School senior Daniel “Floppy Joe” McKown won the World Cup at The World Roller Games in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this month.
McKown was one of the few jammers, or point scorers, on the team. In roller derby, points are scored when jammers are able to get past the opposing team’s blockers and pass other opposing players’ hips. The United States of America Roller Sports (USARS) Men’s Team USA defeated Spain in the final competition for the World Cup, 42 to 37.
“It was a lot of fun because this is the first all-men’s team I’ve played for,” McKown said. “I’ve always played co-ed, so I got to play with all men that were 16 and up. I was the second youngest on the team. I’ve played Canada and Australia before, but it was cool playing all these different countries like Spain, Japan, and China. It was neat because I didn’t know what they were saying, so I didn’t really know what was going on. It was awesome to get to skate with such high-level skaters because that means I’m a high-level skater too, I guess.”
Playing in The World Roller Games was much tougher than other competitions, according to McKown. His team was the smallest with only 11 skaters, compared to its opponents’ full 16-skater teams. The men on the other teams were much faster and hit a lot harder as well, McKown said. Afterward, he and his teammates were able to dine and hang out together, which McKown said was not something that typically was done with the other teams he played on.
Due to his speed, agility, and cutthroat mentality, playing roller derby has been a perfect match for the 17-year-old. He’s been competing for about five years but has been rollerskating ever since he could remember. His mother, Andrea McKown, spent time on the local City of Fists team, and her son began officiating at the roller derby games held at Anderson until the teams went co-ed. At that time, he was able to play.
“I like to meet new people. I’ve made a lot of friends in this sport,” McKown said. “I hope to play as long as I can, as long as my body will let me. When I turn 18, I will move into the adult leagues, and I can play for the men’s team in Indianapolis. So I plan on doing that.”
McKown currently is training and hoping to compete in the Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA) World Cup 2020 that will take place next year.