My nickname is Pariah Carey,” said a member of the Furious Truckstop Waitresses, a team in the Tucson Roller Derby. Nicknames are just a small part of the community of roller derby. “I actually had it picked out years before I wanted to join roller derby.”
And, believe it or not, the Tucson roller derby has been around since 2003. “It started in Austin...and you can kind of see that in the movie Whip It, says Miranda Schubert. “They were kind of the original resurgence league. And Arizona was actually the 2nd.” With Tucson branching off from Phoenix.
Roller derby has changed a lot in its resurgence...now, it's more of an athletic endeavor. With such programs like the World Cup of Roller Derby. “It's not WWF on skates like it was back in the 70's,” says Elizabeth Romano. She’s with Vice Squad in the Roller Derby. It's still big hits and people getting knocked out, according to Romano...but it's also about volunteer work, and power of community. “We want to be out in the community, but we also have to run the league, because it's skate or run.”
And every member is required to do volunteer work. A lot of members of Tucson Roller Derby are mothers with families...and as Romano puts it...”We can do what we want. And we can go out there and hit people, and we can have bruises on us but then I can go to work tomorrow and still be a career woman too.”
No experience is required to join Roller Derby...they develop all the necessary skills in a program aptly named "fresh meat". “I think it's like a 3-month program or something, says Romano. “Then you take a skills test, and then you can get drafted on to a team.” “It attracts all different kinds of people who, like maybe under other circumstances would not have been friends.”
The Tucson Roller Derby is in their 15th season. They have a bout on Saturday, January 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Tucson indoor sports center.
For more info, visit their Facebook page, Tucson Roller Derby.