When these ladies strap on their skates, helmets and fishnet stockings, it’s time for them to put motherhood and the office aside so their alter egos can take over and they can let out a little aggression.
And they aren’t afraid to get a little bloodied and bruised in the process.
The women of Tri-Valley Roller Girls have been sharpening their roller skating skills and squaring off against each other in scrimmages as a team for about six weeks with the hopes of being “'bout ready” to take on other teams in the area and eventually around the state by February or March.
Some are veterans to the sport of roller derby, while others are just learning to skate.
They practice two times a week at Val Vista Skate Park’s inline hockey rink in Pleasanton and on Fridays they skate 10 miles from Dublin to San Ramon and back to build up their endurance.
Practices are supposed to be tame, but it is a contact sport and one player took a tumble after being hit in Monday’s practice. She had to sit out the rest of the time.
“We have to get our girls 'bout ready with minimal skills,” said Lisa Patino, who goes by the name FEARlis 3:12 on the track.
“We are athletes,” she said.
Patino and her 16 teammates are using Craigslist, Facebook and word of mouth and are creating a website to recruit more players. She has about one year’s experience, making her one of the veteran players on the Tri-Valley Roller Girls team.
All of the girls choose names that are unlike any other player’s in the country, and there is even a website on which they register their name. If you want a name similar to another player’s name, you have to get that player’s permission, Patino said.
The sport dates to the 1920s and has been reinvigorated in recent years with new teams being created across the globe.
The Tri-Valley Roller Girls are perhaps one of the newest teams in the Bay Area. They are mothers, professionals and basically women who are aren’t afraid to break a nail let alone take a nasty hit from their opponents.
Speed inline skater Mike Anelli, who has volunteered to coach the team, has become a student of the sport.
“I thought it would be fun. I just like to skate," he said. "Anything on wheels I just like doing.”
Roller derby is fast-paced. It involves two jammers marked by a star on their helmets going around a flat track trying to break through a pack of other players called blockers.
The blockers use hip checks bumping shoulders and even their butts to prevent the jammers from getting around them.
Jammers earn points every time they pass a member of the opposing team. The team with the most points at the end of a bout wins. To find out more about the rules, watch this video.
“It’s offense and defense at the same time,” said Casey Costa, who goes by the name Juicy McLovin on the roller derby track.
“After a bout, the whole next week I’m sore. I love the hitting.”
Costa has been playing for 3½ years and said the hitting in roller derby was a big draw. Partly because of a fear for her life, she didn’t see playing hockey against the guys as a safe bet. A friend told her about roller derby and she was hooked.
Patino said she prefers to be a jammer.
Shannon Wirchniansky, who goes by the name Honey Basher come bout time, learned about the sport from a friend, and has used it as an elixir to battle Crohn’s disease. Her 4-year-old daughter, Sasha, has become the team’s mascot and has been dubbed Bit O’ Honey by the team.
“The message (of playing roller derby) is it is really empowering for women,” Wirchniansky said.
“I can do my day job and get my aggressions out in the evening."
Anyone interesting in joining should send an email to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.