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Roller derby brings all ages together
Blood, sweat and tears are just a few of the many companions that come with competing in roller derby, not to mention broken legs, sprained ankles and fractured tibias. Even still, these minor setbacks haven’t quenched the love of this sport for many.
UNT education senior Lauren Powers and 12 other skaters came together two years ago in Denton and created a roller derby league. The road to finding a place to skate was a nomadic one, but after three locations, the team finally settled in at The House of Quad at 222 S. Mayhill Road.
“I hadn’t skated in 10 years,” Powers said. “None of us actually had any derby experience. We all came together and were like ‘hey you want to create something here instead of driving to Dallas?’”
The original group has blossomed into three derby leagues that now totals 165 people, and counting. The adult women’s league is called the North Texas Derby Revolution with 120 skaters, the junior league is known as the Rolling Rebellion with 30 skaters and the adult men’s league is known as The Denton County Outlaws with 15 skaters.
Powers said the men’s league roster is dismal compared to the juniors.
“They’re a committed 15 that’s working on growing,” she said. “The junior league has been growing like crazy.”
Luckily, for the men’s league, roller derby only requires 14 people for a game.
One of the reasons why the men’s league lacks in skaters is because of the sport’s association as being only for women.
“The hardest part of getting guys to play is getting that out of their head,” men’s league captain Kyle Divers said. “They think we wear short shorts or fish nets, but we wear uniforms.”
Divers brings five years of experience to the team. He said he didn’t think it was a serious sport until he saw the structured, serious practices.
Before a skater can be drafted, they have to master three levels, one of which includes training.
Juli Foreman, 49, is a member of the training team and enjoys the camaraderie of the sport. She’s the oldest skater on the team.
“I was at a point in my life that I wanted to be new and different and I was looking for some new excitement,” Foreman said.
A resounding theme that members of the team has stressed is the tight-knit community that derby brings. No matter what the age, race, sex, or skill level may be, any and everyone is welcomed with open arms, and can show up on Fridays at 4:30 p.m. to start competing.
“Some of us have been the square pegs that couldn’t fit in the round hole, so we all found each other in derby,” Foreman said.