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Get into the jam
The Smog City Roller Grrls talk about separated rib cartilage and bone bruises like it's no big thing. They train and skate and sometimes get bumped (not so politely) to the ground. But they get up and skate again.
This ain't your mom's roller derby — or your grandma's for that matter.
Famous was there when the team started last year.
Here, we get an update from the team's pivot, blocker and reserve jammer LeStrange #9.
You guys have a bout coming up at Rollerland in Merced (that's Sat., March 24, for those looking to caravan). What can we expect?
Our upcoming bout is against the Port City Roller Girls (Stockton). It's their first time playing, our second. The event is called "Chicks n' Sticks," which features a period of roller derby followed by a period of roller hockey. Three periods each. It is going to be a blast.
Last we checked (and that was almost a year ago) a lot of the girls (or grrls) were just learning to skate. How's the team doing now?
We train at least twice a week. I skate almost every day, to and from work. We have grown so much as athletes and also as a team. We still have a ways to go, but we're definitely on the right track.
How long have you been skating? How did you get involved with the team, and what keeps you coming back?
I was an '80s kid. I have been skating since I was about five. Roller Towne was my babysitter growing up. I've always loved to skate. I hadn't been on skates in about five years when we started the league. But it didn't take long for it all to come back. I get better every day and that keeps me skating.
I have been with the league since the beginning. Jenn (Goodie Two Bruise) called me up and just said plainly that she was going to start a roller derby league and I was going to help her and be a part of it. It's been a major part of my life ever since. She has been amazing about getting everything going, and I do all I can to support her.
All I can say about what keeps me coming back is that not much could keep me from derby. I love the game, I love all my girls, and it's an opportunity to be athletic and competitive, something I think we all need in our lives.
Talk about Roller Derby as an outlet for female empowerment (as opposed to just some hot chicks in short skirts).
Men have so many sports, football, baseball, soccer, basketball, just to name a few. While there are female equivalents to those games, they are mostly ignored. This is something that is all ours. Men can be a part of it too, referees, coaches, water boys, but the actual game is all girl. This is something that we get to do and do well. The hot chicks and short skirts just sweeten the deal for the spectator. And to be honest, skating in some of the things we skate in is a lot more comfortable than wearing a stuffy uniform.
Roller Derby is all about the contact, yes? What's the worst injury you've had? Is there a lot of bandage-buying going on?
I have had multiple injuries. I'd say the most painful so far has been separating my rib from the cartilage. I'm still recovering from that. Other painful ones have been a fractured tailbone and a nasty bone bruise on my shin. Bruises and cuts are to be expected, but when you break or tear something, it can be very painful. But it's not stopping me, for sure.
There's also something to having this roller-derby persona, including a name. What's the best roller-derby name you've heard? My favorite is Lorreta Lynch.
Actually, one of my favorites is our very own Goodie Two Bruise. Catfight Stevens is good, too. She's one of our blockers.
Better movie: "Rollerball," with James Caan or LL Cool J. (You don't really have to answer that).
You guys have really busted your ass to get this team going (hosting fundraisers, rounding up practice spots, looking for sponsors, etc.). It's totally DIY. How much work has gone into the team?
I couldn't even tell you how much work has gone into this. It's a lot more than just practicing twice a week. Some of us are doing derby related things on a daily basis. It's a lot like running a business, you really have to work on it every day. I usually spend a big chunk of my morning on the phone or answering e-mails to other leagues and prospective recruits.
My sources (I am a journalist after all) just this second sent an e-mail about a sponsor coming through with a warehouse for you guys. That's big, right? How is that going to affect what you do?
What? Was that the e-mail I sent you about us looking for a warehouse and trying to find sponsorship? Don't get my hopes up! We are looking for both, and anyone interested in sponsoring our league needs to get in contact with us.
Free space: Tell us anything else you think we should know.
We are a pay-to-play league. Every girl pays monthly dues, on top of gear (which is very expensive). We also put our bodies and relationships on the line to play and entertain. We need sponsors to help us do this!