Why roller derby?

Guest Viewpoint

Danielle Baker aka MayDay Va J.J.

Danielle Baker aka MayDay Va J.J. Photo by Peter Belanger

Cure cancer, save the world, eat cotton candy every day and play roller derby. This was my short list of to-do’s as a child. Becoming an adult meant that anything was possible. As life wears on, items get bumped off, forgotten or just seem too childish to even care about.

Enter roller derby.

The very idea transported me to those afternoons on the couch with my dad watching women on roller skates race around aggressively. Of course, the sport has changed. There’s no punching or tripping. The track we skate on is flat. We pride ourselves on acting professional and being athletic, all while getting hit (legally of course) on roller skates. What a great sport, right?

The most surprising, and touching, aspect of this sport has been the support from the community. You, reading this now. I began playing 3 years ago because I needed a hobby, now I am co-captain and in charge of events. This sport has become so much a part of my life that my long suffering husband decided he better strap on skates if he ever wanted to see me, and now refs for the Jills. The sport is fun, but giving the community a team to be proud of makes it worthwhile. High-fiving kids at the end of each bout, conversing with strangers about strategy, even recruiting gives me the sense that there was a demographic in Plattsburgh just waiting for us.

Roller derby attracts all types of people—young, not-so-young, thin, not-so-thin. The beauty of this sport is that we will take anyone with the right attitude. There is no perfect derby “type.” Everyone has something to offer—even if they aren’t on skates. Our team has college students, professionals, and everything in between. It’s a beautiful thing to see a group of people come together to create an environment so accepting. Not that it has been a breeze to do, but anything worth doing will have its ups and downs.

As we approach our last game until the next season starting February, please know that we will be working hard. Our goal is to improve our winning season as we play harder teams. We are also working to become recognized by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. This goal will allow us to be ranked regionally and play among the best in the world. This sport is exciting, gratifying, and not slowing down anytime soon. Look for us on the track, and maybe even join us… we’re waiting.

Danielle Baker aka MayDay Va J.J.

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