Roller derby team hopes to competeIt’s a sport where women from all walks of life come together, practice as a team and knock each other to the cement while on roller skates traveling up to 20 mph.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
It’s a sport where women from all walks of life come together, practice as a team and knock each other to the cement while on roller skates traveling up to 20 mph.
Welcome to roller derby, a growing sport across the nation and now in Jamestown.
Roller derby has taken off since the revival started in Austin, Texas, in 2001 with one league. Now there are more than 450 sanctioned leagues.
Since June the Jamestown Jammers have gotten together and worked on creating a team that one day will compete across the state and region.
Because roller derby requires skills and endurance the Jammers are currently building on the basics, like skating for speed and falling the proper way, said Eric Faul, head coach.
“We’re in the beginning of more or less trying to get girls interested,” Faul said.
Faul’s wife, Sarah, can be considered the driving force behind bringing roller derby to Jamestown.
Early in the summer she met with Jamestown Parks and Recreation Director Doug Hogan who granted the team free practice space.
“Look at Fargo, they turn people away, they don’t have seating room when they have bouts over there and Grand Forks is starting a team,” Hogan said.
Hogan said the sport gives another group of people something to do, and it has lots of entertainment for spectators.
“He was excited about the idea and that gave me a lot of confidence in it,” Sarah Faul said.
Each team has five skaters: one pivot, three blockers and one jammer.
Two teams skate in circles while the jammers skate ahead and try to pass through the blockers and the pivot to earn a point. There are two 30-minute periods broken down into numerous 2 minutes, or so, jams while skaters try to push their jammer to the front of the pack.
“It is an amazing amount of work,” said Kara Paiement, a Jammer who helped start a roller derby team when she was living in Pikes Peak, Colo. “You have to be pretty committed to the process when you start.”
The sport is an opportunity for women from all walks of life to come together and compete, she said.
Sarah Faul is a full-time National Guard solider, Paiement is a teacher’s aide at Gussner Elementary School, and two other active members are a biologist for Ducks Unlimited and a waitress.
“It’s a growing sport and it’s nice to be able to go and be with other females your age and compete,” Sarah Faul said.
Back in Pikes Peak and at other roller derbies the skaters have an alter ego during practices and bouts, Paiement said.
Skaters go by nicknames as part of that alter ego. Hydro-Jen Bombshell and Sgt. PainFaul are two of the Jamestown Jammers.
“It’s girly, girly and then rough and tumble,” Paiement said. “It’s the oddest mix of everything.”
The sport is open to any women over 18 years old. All that is needed are skates, a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist pads. Those interested can come to the Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. Sundays. More information is also available by calling Jen Kross at 368-9329 or e-mail at email@example.com.
“Really, I was just sick of being boring,” said Jamestown Jammer Amanda Henne. “I haven’t been on skates in 18 years and I had a blast last week when I came to practice.”
This is the perfect time to start if interested because skaters can learn the basics before things get serious with contact, Sarah Faul said.
At this stage athleticism is also not necessary because skaters will learn with each practice, she said.
“I just had a baby, and if I can do it anyone can do it,” Henne said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org