Skate and sport collide for Temple fun

Imagine 10 women skating around an oval track, pushing and shoving opponents to the ground while trying to allow the jammer an opportunity to fly to the front of the pack and score.

That is roller derby, a sport that features some tough girls showing off their competitive sides.

Temple is home to its own roller derby league, The Cen-Tex Rollergirls. The most recent bout was held Saturday March 9 lasting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Frank W. Mayborn Center.

The league began in 2010 with only one team. Since then, it has added two more teams and holds events twice a month.

“We are always looking to expand by adding additional teams. Ideally we would like to have four home teams and keep our H.O.T All-Stars as our A travel team and possibly add a B travel team,” league Vice President Zee Kelly said. “Any time anyone would like to see if the sport is something they would enjoy, they are welcome to attend a practice and give it a go.”

The league’s three teams are the H.O.T All-Stars, the Nightmares and the Cen-Tex Sirens. They invite any women to join the league, and the only requirement is to be 18 years old.

“We recruit year round and accept all individuals regardless of size or athletic ability,” Kelly said. “We are all adult women that had no true outlet after reaching adulthood. With roller derby, we can still be true athletes.”

No experience is required to be a part of the Cen-Tex Rollergirls organization. They train every volunteer to prepare them for the actual competition, and they can also provide some equipment.

“Besides having an athletic outlet, one of the most enjoyable aspects of being in roller derby is you can enjoy the competition. You can be yourself. You have a support system when needed, and we have the truest of friends. We get to have an exciting time together on and off the track,” she said.

A bout combines athletic competition and production to give fans the ultimate entertainment package. Frequent interaction between the audience and the battling athletes is a highlight of events.

“We practice catch and release,” the event announcer, El Gallo, said. “If a skater falls in your lap, catch her and release her into the wild so she can find her way back to the pack.”

Sophomore international business major Vance Ray attended the match last Saturday when the Sirens battled the visiting South Texas Rolleristas. It was his first time to watch a roller derby bout where he was part of a crowd that he said “were really getting into it.”

“It was definitely an interesting experience,” Ray said. “I didn’t understand the rules at all, but the object of the game was pretty clear. It was kind of like football on skates.”

The league is currently a part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s Apprenticeship Program, which is a precursor to full membership. Skaters plan to finish their apprenticeships by summer.

“WFTDA regulates our rule set and assists leagues around the world in training techniques, organizing and hosting training clinics and tournaments,” Kelly said.

“WFTDA is governed by roller derby athletes from participating leagues. With the induction into WFTDA, our league will be one of the thousands that have a voice in how our rules are changed or adjusted to benefit the sports growth.”

However, competition and growth are not the only goals of the Rollergirls. The teams keep a strong attention on the local community. Their main focus this year is Operation Once in a Lifetime, a charity that assists military personnel and families.

“We are a not-for-profit entity,” Kelly said. “We are currently working on a tax exempt status to assist in our league’s ability (to) assist our charities. We have always been a strong front in the community when it comes to charitable acts.”

To students interested in watching a bout or those who want to test their skating skills, Kelly said they can obtain additional information on game schedules, ticket purchasing and recruitment, at the website, centexrollergirls.com. Or, they can visit or the Facebook fan page.

Author: Seth Stephens

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