Princeton Times

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June 21, 2013

Roller derby gets moving in Green Valley

PRINCETON — Roller derby is coming to Mercer County, folks.  Local “Derby Girl,” Misty Farley is putting together a squad at Skatetown of Green Valley to bring thrills and entertainment to the community.  

Last Saturday, Farley and a group of ladies gathered for the initial tryouts for the fledgling team. One hopeful, Tawnnie Taylor, of Princeton says derby is just another way to enjoy her love for skating and fitness.  

“Derby offers me a chance to vent and skate,” she said as she was lacing up.  

Although she is a recreational skater, Taylor says the idea of competing and skating intrigues her.

Roller derby has come a long way since the days of banked tracks, flashy uniforms, and WWE-type fights. The track is flat, the scoring is more of the objective, and the girls are there to compete and entertain.  

Farley’s motivation to start the club was simple: “I love roller derby, and I have been involved in the sport for three years. Mercer County did not have a team, and the new Bluefield Skatetown rink owner David Roy asked me to start a team here. I agreed to do it.”  

She went on to talk about her origin in the sport.

“[About three years ago], my sister and I took our kids skating one day and met a girl on the team who was recruiting and told us about practice and invited us to come, so we went to the practice and met the girls and instantly fell in love with the sport,” Farley said.  Since then, she has been devoted to the derby.

Pam Ashley, also known on the track as “Sonic Wave,” was on hand to assist with evaluation the coaching of the hopefuls.  

She explained the positions of jammer, blocker, and pivot and the basic rules of a bout.  Jammers break through formations (or jams) in order to score. Blockers block on the defensive end, and pivots (who wear the striped helmet cover) can act as an offensive and defensive player, depending on the situation. The first to break through a pack during a jam becomes the lead jammer and usually dictates how long the jam segment will last during a 30-minute half. Substitutions are made when the lead calls an end to the jam.  “Girls either love it or hate it,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of this game is practice and the other one percent shows in the game,” she added.  

Two things are true according to Ashley: It is definitely love-it or hate-it for the ladies, and safety is always first.

During the first session, the ladies worked on getting their “skate legs” under them and learning the basics of  where contact with another skater can be made, how to give and receive contact in a safe manner, and of course, how to fall while minimizing the risk of injury.

The club also has a manager and in this case, Nathaniel Hoge was tapped for this position.  Hoge worked with Farley in the past and learned the rudiments of putting bouts together, dealing with minor bumps and bruises, and finding sponsors for the bouts.  

“The bouts are fun to watch and the fact the girls are having fun and the community benefits from the matches makes all the work worthwhile,” he said.  

Hoge says he is hoping to put together an exhibition between the Green Valley squad and a club in Savannah, Ga., this year.  

Farley also highlighted how local derby teams give back.  

“We love to be involved with helping others. When we start to compete we will pick out a local charity and give them half of the profits from out bouts,” she said.  

One recent example was when a team in Beckley contributed half of the profits of their bout to a local charity which is a cornerstone of the Derby community.  

Rollerderby, according to participants, is a great way to stay in shape, make new friends, and support the community.  The West Virginia Rollergirls practice on Fridays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in information on tryouts and event dates can contact Misty Farley through Skatetown of Green Valley at 304-327-8175.

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