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Featured Skater of the Month - April 2012

Beast of Burton #666

Hello derby fans!  It’s time to hop back on the rink to get to know the skaters of your South Jersey Derby Girls.  This month, we'll sit down with the woman that carries the heavy load of the pack as a fierce pivot.  She is the one and only Beast of Burton #666. 


What led you to roller derby?

I was interested the instant I learned what it was, and eventually looked it up one weekend as something fun to go see. It turns out there was a game that night and we watched the OSDA Championships. When they announced that the teams were recruiting, I signed up the very next day and started practice that Monday! 


What does being a South Jersey Derby Girl mean to you?

Aside from keeping in shape, being competitive, and getting out frustration, more importantly skating for SJDG is like a great big family. I've met the most interesting, genuine people who are really there for you when you need support, cheer you on and help you celebrate your successes, and crack you up when you need a good laugh. 


What do you like to do when you're not derbying?

I love going to the movies or out to eat, and spending time with friends and family. I also like to cook, though I rarely make the time. But traveling to new places is my favorite thing to do! 


What is your favorite position to play?

Pivot is my favorite position because you're up in front holding it down, and all the action comes to you. You're the last line of defense, but you still have a chance to skate your heart out. (As long as I get to be a #2 (outside) blocker, too, and have the chance to hit people for a whole jam!) What is your greatest achievement in derby?Knocking male skaters on their asses!


Travel team Test: From Training Wheels to Big Wheels

March 3rd, 2009

If I hadn't already told everyone I know (plus a few random strangers) that I'm on a roller derby team, no one would ever believe it... I am (or was!) one of the least athletic people I know: I never played sports much as a kid, and opted instead for artsy endeavors — with an un-healthy dose of couch potato, for good measure. When it came to sports, I was uniformly terrible, and hesitant to try anything new if there was a chance I wouldn't succeed. But with old age comes confidence, and I decided one impulsive day in December to sign up for the South Jersey Derby Girls.

Fast forward nearly 3 months later, and I was ready (so they told me!?) to test for the team. For the past few months, I'd gone from struggling to keep up with the experienced skaters at barely keeping up with the experienced skaters! I had something to prove to the team, but more importantly to myself.

Through all of the drills and spills, the captains, coaches, Big Wheels and Training Wheels were always supportive and never critical. There was not one practice where I wasn't cheered on by a teammate, and it has been the best motivation. When you get to that moment when your lungs are telling you to "stop and take a break already!" and your legs are screaming "we can't take any more!" — at that moment, only the sincere support of your teammates keeps you going. All the pain is worth it, because you know you can count on an awesome group of girls to get you through it.

That support was the most apparent when teammates Mandi, Michele, and I began our test with 20 sprinted laps in 4 minutes. It was more sprinting than we'd ever done before, and going into it I was not at all sure I could do it. (Especially in front of an audience. No pressure!) Around lap 10 or 11, I started to really feel the burn, but I also started to hear the voices of my teammates — my friends! — cheering us on. All three of us finished in the 4 minutes, and promptly collapsed from exhaustion. But the testing was hardly over!

After another hour plus of skating, blocks, falls, toe starts, and drills (some good, some shaky, some falling flat on my ass!), the captains scored our performances while we took the written test on the rules of the game. Being the GIANT nerd that I am, I had studied all week, and aced the written portion. Then the results were in! With a handful of things to keep working on, I had passed the test for the travel team! I would hardly have believed it myself, if I didn't have the bruises to show for it.

So now the first hurdle is over, and the next one will be trying to hold my own in a real game. (Scary!) But when you're on a whirlwind adventure like roller derby, there isn’t any time to ease yourself into a comfort zone before trying new things. It's trial by fire! And the surprising reward is when you realize you can actually do it. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm kissing that "comfort zone" goodbye, and never looking back.

See you on the rink,—Laurie (a.k.a. "Beast of Burton")

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