PIEROTTI: Roller Derby is a great competitive outlet

Cat Pierotti

I was ready to go kick some roller derby butt. Or so I
I laced up my skates, Velcroed my kneepads, elbow pads, put on my wrist guards and buckled my helmet.

I was ready to go kick some roller derby butt.

Or so I thought.

One lap around the rink and down I went – falling forward at least.

Using my wrist guard to its fullest ability, I fell gracefully and softly, perhaps due to the ridiculously slow speed I was already taking around the curve.

So went my first experience with the South County Derby Girls, the local roller derby team, which has been around for a year, gaining popularity with women of all ages.

Joining is simple: pay your dues and you can play. There are some stipulations, but Coach Hobbles will tell you, if you communicate with them, they are more than willing to work around your schedule in order for you to be a part of the team.

There is nothing about roller derby to take lightly.

I am a college athlete – I play softball for Kentucky State University – and after my second fall – I landed just hard enough on my right arm again, feeling a straight pain through my shoulder – I called it quits. For me, it’s not quite my time to join the sport.

The day before, I attended my first practice with my Dispatch co-worker Blair Tellers. Coach Hobbles informed us, the “fresh meat,” (referring to all newbies,) about a girl who had just suffered a compound fracture the night before. It was horrifying hearing the details of the accident. And the injured girl was fresh meat on top of it. Oh, great.

As I sat through the “Intro to Roller Derby” and put to test the skills they were teaching us, I thought about the kind of women who are, and might be, be interested in an activity like this. It occurred to me that for many female athletes, it seems like the road through women’s sports and the camaraderie that comes with women’s teams, ends after we graduate college or end our athletic careers.

Sure there are slow-pitch softball leagues and other recreational leagues. But they don’t compare to the feminine power that exists being involved on a team with tough, strong women.

Then I thought, yeah, this is something that I can go full throttle with after my college career. I would not have to worry about hurting myself because it would be my sport. I would take the chance because sports and athletics run so deeply in my soul that it always feels like it’s worth the blood, sweat, tears and, sometimes, broken bones.

Coach Hobbles is actually out of action right now due to injury, which is the reason she started coaching. She said she loved the sport so much that she still wanted to be a part of it anyway she can. I want that drive and that desire as an adult woman after my collegiate playing days are over.

I feel roller derby is the kind of sport, while women from all backgrounds are welcome, in which former woman athletes would excel. They already have the competitive streak, the toughness, and hopefully years of working their bodies to its extremes.

The motto of the league – Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary – are the words that grace the website of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association in which all roller derby teams register with.

The league and teams are “for the skaters, by the skaters,” the website states. Everything about roller derby is run on the desires of the women involved. This may be the most powerful female athletic movement around right now for women looking for different athletic venues away from traditional sports.

The rules are not very difficult, but not easy to explain if you’re a beginner. I could not do the sport justice if I tried to explain to you how it works. However, I encourage all women, athletes or not, to check out the South County Derby Girls on Monday through Thursday and Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m. If you are serious, fresh meat practice is Monday and Wednesday. The team can be found on Facebook and can be contacted at (408) 634-TEAM. A whole list of rules, regulations and requirements can be found at wftda.com.

Cat Pierotti is a Gilroy Dispatch intern. She graduated from GHS in 2008 and attends Kentucky State University.

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