ROLLER DERBY: Growing Outlaws team seeks sponsors, new members
They are business professionals, teachers, nurses, stay-at-home moms and everything else in between. But, when they lace up their roller skates — they are all Outlaws.
Roller Derby is alive and well in the foothills with the Outlaws, a community based, non-profit, women’s flat track roller derby club.
“We’re growing in this community,” Nevada City resident and Outlaws team member Teena “Thrash-Her” Marie said.
The continually growing club, which practices twice a week and has games about once a month, has more than 45 members, including several Nevada County residents.
For Marie it took only one trip to an Outlaws practice and she was hooked.
“I used to be a professional snowboarder when I was much younger, so I’ve always been competitive. I’ve always liked being active and pushing myself,” she said. “Then I became a nurse, then a mother, and so I noticed that was what I started identifying myself as — a mother and a nurse — and I kind of lost me for while. So, I was looking for something to bring that athlete back out, and I came across the Outlaws. So, I went to a practice — and I don’t roller skate — but they were so welcoming and inviting that I realized I was not only missing the athletic part of me, but I was also missing friends. I was missing that group of competitive people, and I was hooked.”
Alta Sierra resident and Outlaws team member Claire Swanson, known as “Di O’Brawlical” in roller derby circles, was also enamored with the sport from day one.
“I was a mom and an employee, I had finished college, and I didn’t have anything for me,” Swanson said. “My daughter was at an age where she was OK with me having a hobby and I heard of roller derby and said ‘I have to do this.’ I love competition so I went and saw a practice and I was hooked ever since. I bought my first pair of skates that same night. I’m 4 ½ years in now and there’s no shaking it.”
Swanson added that joining the Outlaws has also had a big impact on her physical health.
“When I first started, I was about 200 pounds,” she recalled. “Derby inspired me to take care of myself, more self love, and from there I lost almost 70 pounds and no more diabetes. It just empowered me to take time for myself, get out and socialize and make these great friends from all walks of life.”
Swanson added she has moved from the position of “blocker” to “jammer” because of her increased speed and agility on skates.
Nevada County resident Wendy Agostino thought the sport was all but extinct, until she noticed roller derby photos popping up on Swanson’s Facebook page.
“I needed something active, I needed to be doing something,” Agostino said. “I’ve never been competitive, I’ve never been an athlete. I used to roller skate when I was a little girl and I really liked it, and someone at work joked that I should find a roller derby team, but I thought they were all gone.”
After looking into the Outlaws a little more, she too was drawn to the sport, became a member and is now known as “Princess Rage” around the track.
The Outlaws train and compete at Roseville’s Roller King rink. Team members come from all over the Sacramento Area, and they are looking to get bigger. Already with two tiers of Outlaws teams, they are looking to add members as well as sponsors to help with the club’s philanthropic missons.
“We’re a non-profit. We do a lot of fundraising and that’s something I’m really proud of,” said Marie. “This is a way for us to give back… We’re trying to get sponsorships, because that brings in more money for us to give out. That’s also money we can use to sponsor girls that want to do derby but can’t afford it.”
The Outlaws also look to set a good example for their children and their community.
“We’re all competitive and we work hard, but we are also moms with children who want them to look up to us,” Swanson said. “So we’re not out there screaming at people or cussing. We want to show that you can be competitive and also be respectful to your competition.”
Marie added, “we want to be inspirations to younger girls and to other teams.”
The Outlaws will have a booth and be skating through the crowd at Grass Valley’s Thursday Night Market in hopes of raising awareness and gaining sponsors for their club.
“We will be out there mingeling, letting people know that roller derby still exists,” said Marie. “Come watch us. Come support us. Come join us.”
They also encourage anyone who is on the fence about the sport to come check it out.
“If your on the fence, come to a practice, watch and you won’t be on the fence anymore,” Marie said.
The Outlaws welcome anyone interested in the sport no matter their skill level and offer a “Misfits” program for beginners.
While the bouts can get brutal and highly competetive, they always end with smiles and high fives.
“In the games we will be hitting our opponents so hard, knocking them all over the place,” said Marie. “But, as soon as that last whistle blows, we’re giving each other hugs and high fives, and we usually all go out and have a meal together.”
The next bout for the Outlaws is against the Sacred Disciples and is set for Aug. 20 at Roller King.
For more information about the Outlaws Roller Derby Club, visit http://www.outlawsrollerderby.com.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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