WZDX News goes to Roller Derby Boot Camp

Derby players tell us what motivates them to play such a physical sport

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Just a few minutes into the first day of roller derby boot camp, several derby players had already been bruised, especially including the rookies.

The Dixie Derby Girls just began its preseason push for new recruits.

While the more finely-tuned veteran players have a casual practice in one corner of the rink at Roller Time in Huntsville, the new recruits practice drills in the center. Everyone here will get a spot on the team if she wants it.

"We're open to anybody," said boot camp organizer and long-time derby player Roni London. "If you want to skate, we'll teach you."

The team skates in about 12 "bouts" each season, which runs from March through the fall.

We asked some of the 30+ women here what motivates them to take up such a physical sport, especially considering there is no money involved and no one is competing for an athletic scholarship.

For some players like Dominique Carraway, derby is a stress reliever.

"I've just kind of stuck with it," Carraway said while checking and tightening each individual wheel on her skates, upside-down on a table. "It's cheaper than therapy."

We heard other reasons for joining the team, like the camaraderie, the adrenaline rush and to keep from being bored.

Dixie Derby Girls' blocker Rachel Pruitt's reason for joining was essentially to save her own life.

"My doctor told me you're on the fast track to an early death. You need to find something that will get you out and get you active," explained Pruitt. "Before I started this sport, I weighed over 200 pounds. I was on 14 different kinds of medication just to function. Then I found this sport, and I started skating. So far, I've lost about 80 pounds and I am not on any medications anymore."

There are many seasoned professionals among this group of amateur athletes.

The team includes a systems engineer, a teacher and a customer service rep for a wholesaler.

They all agree it is a fun break from day-to-day adult responsibilities.

It is also shot at sports glory, which is rare for most people once they have graduated college.

"As long as somebody's playing clean, I'll take a hard hit from someone," said London. "Then, I'll give them a hug after the bout and say they make me a better player."

Wednesday's event was the first of four days of boot camp.

The remaining days of boot camp are Sunday (11/12), Wednesday (11/15) and Sunday (11/19).

Sunday boot camp begins at 5 PM.

Wednesday boot camp begins at 6 PM.

The camp costs $30, and equipment is provided for first-timers.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • 2018 Golf Tour Card
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Work for Us
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Enter to win your way to Christmas in Dixie
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Find us on Social Media
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Nominate your Valley's First Responder
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest News