Less sugar, more spice, two skates, no ice
Hartford roller derby tightens its laces for first home opener
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 00:04
Injuries, of course, are not uncommon in the rink. At Sunday’s scrimmage, a player was taken away on a stretcher after sustaining a blow to her neck. Another one curled up in pain while suffering a jarring swat from a teammate. But the hurt is outweighed by the benefits that the sport has to offer, said Jessie Rack, a doctorate student in the UConn ecology and evolutionary biology program.
“It took a while to get over the fear factor,” Rack, also known as “Swiss Miscreant,” said. “But now it’s pretty non-intimidating.” She said that most people react positively to her new-found hobby. “The doctors hate it, but others think it’s a cool sport.”
“There are not enough full-contact sports for women,” said Ali Smith, one of the original members of Hartford league. She said that she fell in love with roller derby after seeing just one bout.
Since joining the team under Pain’s recommendation, Smith has adopted the title Jersey Buryher. Aliases are a point of pride for most skaters, she said, as are costumes and bruises. They exude personality and help skaters assimilate with the derby culture. “You can be a super hero for an hour by wearing something you can’t wear outside of the rink,” Smith said.
Pain, who is chairwoman of Hartford Area Roller Derby, and captain and coach of the Wailers, said that being on the team is like having a full-time job. She said that a lot of the players are professionals and mothers who use the sport as a stress reliever. One skater, described as Raven Storm, is a nurse at Windham Hospital. One of the referees sells life insurance.
Furthermore, the women in the league are all very close. They spend multiple hours together both in and out of the rink, and consider themselves to be an extended family. This element of unity was apparent during Sunday’s scrimmage, as each team folded in, blockers as sentinels on the sides, the jammer sheltered in the middle and the pivot shepherding them all at the helm. The image spoke volumes about the spirit of roller derby, and the principle behind most other sports. Whether in a rink or on a court or in a stadium, human beings need their packs to survive.
For more information and news, contact Pain at email@example.com, or visit http://www.hartfordarearollerderby.com/.