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It's all about the bout

John Benson • May 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM

Want to go?

WHAT: Roller Derby Bout: Sandusky Rollergirls vs. Floral City Rollergirls (MI)

WHEN: 7 p.m. April 16

WHERE: Skateworld & Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, 3319 Milan Rd., Sandusky  

COST: $12-15/ticket

INFO: 419-625-0212 or facebook.com/SanduskyRollergirls

Let’s get ready to rumble — or, in this case, rollerskate — with the fledgling Sandusky Rollergirls’ first bout against another team. The bout takes place 7 p.m. April 16 at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky. These are exciting times for Sandusky Rollergirls founder Renee Matthews, whose team faces Michigan’s Floral City Roller Girls.

“Our entire league is looking forward to this,” she said. “I think they’re a little nervous, and it’s Ohio vs. Michigan. What more can I say?”

After spending the last year gaining experience with interleague bouts, the Sandusky Rollergirls - 14 of the 30 girls face Floral City - are about to finally see where they stand in the roller derby world. Funcoast talked to a few of the girls about their unique hobby.

Whether or not you consider yourself a fan of the sport, they’re hoping to convert you, one bout at a time. 

Marikate “Eulle Cee Starz ” Timmons, age 30, Berlin Hts. resident, 1998 Edison High School graduate, currently employed as head cashier at Kalahari

What does it mean to be a Rollergirl?

It means teamwork, making friends, having fun and working hard to get to the next level.


What’s the funniest thing people have confused roller derby with?

Most people I talk to almost think of roller derby as a cross between the WWE and roller hockey. Yes, we hit each other, but no we don’t use chairs. Yes we skate, but no we don't hit a ball or puck around with a stick.

Did you see the movie “Whip It?” Which character do you relate to and why?

Actually, “Whip It” was what got me interested in roller derby in the first place. I thought the movie would be OK, but when I saw it for the first time I was hooked. I told my friend that I wished we had something like that in Sandusky. Lo and behold, about a month and a half later I saw a fan page for Sandusky Rollergirls. I went to sign up and have been hooked ever since. I guess I kind of relate to Babe Ruthless. I don't think I'm as innocent and naive to the game as she is, but she doesn't seem to give up.

Who works harder, a blocker or jammer?

I am a blocker. I've tried jamming a couple of times and for me personally, being a jammer is a lot more work, partially because I don't have the speed or endurance.


What does roller derby provide you?

Great friends, and a way to relieve some of the stress that builds up every day.


Do you feel like a local celebrity?

Not really. I'm just a girl doing a sport that I absolutely love.

Aubrey Rogers, age 29, Castalia resident, 1999 Huron High School graduate, currently employed as Ghostly Manor assistant manager

What does it mean to be a Rollergirl?

I love playing derby. It’s a very empowering sport. There is so much heart and determination that we put into it. We play a competitive, full contact sport that most of us are serious about our game. The bruises and injuries are real.


What was the funniest thing someone has confused derby with?

I would have to say Halloween or a costume party. I have to laugh and explain our clothing is actually functional. We wear tights because when you get hit and fall you slide better instead of rink rash. The knee high socks because you get skates in the shins, sometimes every little bit helps. So we may look silly at times but it's practical.


Did you see the movie “Whip It?” Which character do you relate to? 

When I went for my first day of roller derby I heard a few girls talking about “Whip It.” I have to say I honestly had no clue what they were talking about. I went to try out because I enjoyed skating as a kid and thought it would be great to check out.

Who works harder, a blocker or jammer?

I believe everyone works just as hard as the other. We all need each other. I am a blocker. I hit or block girls out of the way for the jammer to get through. But the jammers have to have endurance and speed to get through the pack. So everyone is very much appreciated.


What does roller derby provide you?

Roller derby has given me a chance to be a part of a whole other family. We are all very close and genuinely care for one another. I have made a lifetime of friends with these girls.


Do you feel like a local celebrity?

I wouldn’t say celebrity, but its nice when people recognize our jackets or shirts and let us know they support The Sandusky Rollergirls or how much they enjoyed coming to a bout because we have all put our hearts into this. It’s nice to get community support.

Janet “The Farmer’s Diva” Jarrett, age 33, Castalia resident, 1996 Margaretta High School graduate, currently employed as printer/designer at Screen Printing Unlimited

What does it mean to be a rollergirl?

It means you're a tough chick that can take a hit while on wheels. Bumps, bruises and broken bones don't scare you.

What's the funniest thing people have confused roller derby with?


Did you see the movie “Whip It?” Which character do you relate to?

I relate to Iron Maven because she didn’t start playing until she was in her 30’s. She likes to show the young girls that she's still got what it takes.

Who works harder, a blocker or jammer?

I play both positions and I would have to say jammer. You have to have really good endurance to skate fast for that long. Especially when you have a huge target on your back. You also have more pressure to score and not get a major penalty. If you aren't scoring, you're letting your team down. Not to say blockers don't have it tough though. Without them, the jammer is doomed.

What does roller derby provide you?

Pride. It feels great to get out there and do something rough that not everyone can handle. You can't even describe the feeling. People have to do it to understand.

Do you feel like a local celebrity? 

Yes. It’s crazy how many people come to watch. We even get little girls who want autographs after the bout. It's an awesome experience.

Party with the Sandusky Rollergirls after their bout!

WHEN: 9 p.m. April 16

WHERE: The Pump Bar & Grille, 4024 Hayes Ave., Sandusky

COST: Free (mention you're there for the Rollergirls afterparty)

INFO: facebook.com/SanduskyRollergirls

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