*I'd like to preface this by saying that before I ever went to my first practice I went roller skating to try out my new gear. I ran into V there who noticed I had derby skates on and she took it upon herself to help me with stops. She wasn't even part of the league yet. Not only is she an incredible player but she really does love helping her leaguemates improve themselves. I'm honored to have her on my team.~Snuggles
A Providence Roller Derby bout at the Bank of America Rink. Photo by Richard McCaffrey.
A radio ad changed my life. In May of 2005, I heard a radio promo for a roller derby bout on my drive home from work. At the time, I was a quiet 21 year old working as a research assistant in a Sleep Lab at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. I was just married to my high school sweetheart, a medical student at Brown. I drove a Volvo. I had few friends other than my work and my husband’s medical school pals.
On that ride home, I heard an ad for something that sounded pretty awesome: all-female roller derby at the Bank of America Skating Rink in downtown Providence. I had seen roller derby on television when I was a kid, and I remember thinking it looked really fun, although I had no idea what I was watching. I don’t remember comprehending that it was a game, just people skating around trying to knock each other down.
The Bank of America Rink was within walking distance of my apartment, so I dragged my husband down to check it out. It was amazing – roller skating, brawls, crazy uniforms, hilarious announcers, and the penalty box was a toilet. After witnessing Providence Roller Derby’s first bout, I remember thinking, “I could do that.” I had not put on skates for over 10 years. I immediately went home to look up PRD’s website to join. I went to the next practice, and I’ve been playing derby ever since.
Providence Roller Derby circa 2007. Photo by Dr. Vendetta.
What a fun ride this has been. I skated with Providence for four seasons and travelled the country skating for their all-star travel team, the Rhode Island Riveters. Highlights included co-captaining a home team, the Sakonnet River Roller Rats, captaining the Killah Bees B-level travel team, and playing at WFTDA Eastern Regionals. We worked our asses off, not only on the track but also on the business end of the league. I worked on almost every league committee, and that experience has helped me land some great jobs in the real world. Most of all, I made some of the best friends that a girl could ask for.
Guest playing for the Brooklyn Bombshells. Photo by Darren Mayhem.
In July of 2008, we packed up and moved to the middle of Manhattan when my husband landed a job at a hospital there. I immediately transferred to the number one league in the country at that time, Gotham Girls Roller Derby. I probably should have been more intimidated about joining them – I worked my ass off to just keep up! I got to play with some of my derby idols like Beyonslay, Ginger Snap, Suzy Hotrod, and Bonnie Thunders. I was practicing five days a week at one point, playing on three teams: their fresh meat team, The Meatpacking District; their B-level travel team, The Wall Street Traitors; and my home team, The Manhattan Mayhem. I also took on the massive job of Head of Bout Production, which included organizing a support staff of over 100 people for each monthly bout and transporting Gotham’s massive sport-court floor to and from the venue. I must say I learned more there about the sport than in my past four years with Providence combined. However, as my husband’s job was only a one-year contract, we were again off to new adventures…
Winning MVP for the Hellions of Troy. Photo by Ida Feltersnatch.
So here we are in Albany! I first joined the Hellions of Troy, and I continued to grow as a skater by working more on my pivoting and jamming than I ever had, and was able to draw on my experience with my past two leagues to help them with coaching and strategy. My time with them was highlighted by my MVP award that I received when we played against CNY Roller Derby (Utica, NY). However, in June of 2010 after much thought, I made the tough decision that the Albany All-Stars were likely a better fit for me.
As I begin my seventh season with the All-Stars, I am thrilled to be a part of this league. I am constantly learning new things from my teammates and coaches, while also getting to help coach the fresh meat. I’m also back to practicing four days a week, which I really missed from my Gotham days. I can’t wait to play my first bout with my home team, The Department of Public Hurts, at the Armory! Here’s hoping for many more years on the track – I’m just getting started.