Baltimore area moms tear up the rink in roller derby - Stage names still big in roller derby

Article Index

Stage names still big in roller derby

While roller derby has shifted away from the theatrics that made it popular in the 1960s and '70s, such as exaggerated falling, cursing and name-calling, some performance aspects of the game remain intact, such as the players' use of stage names.

Leslie Schnitzer, 29, a mother of three from Ft. Meade, says taking on her skater persona, "Quickshot Kitty," lets her act differently than she does at home.

"Kitty is more powerful. She's a strong woman, and doesn't put up with a lot of s*** and doesn't let people walk all over her. I'm still motherly and I take care of my teammates, but not to the same extent," says Schnitzer, who is a stay-at-home mom during the day and works in retail at night.

The basic rules of roller derby are as follows: a game, called a "bout," is divided into 2-minute-long shifts called "jams." At the beginning of a jam, four players from each team gather at the starting line, and one additional player from each team stands a little further back at a second starting line. The two players at the back are called jammers, and the eight players at the front are called blockers. When the whistle is blown, the pack of blockers skates quickly around the track, and the jammers from each team attempt to skate past the pack while one team's blockers use their hips, butts, and shoulders to block the opposing team's jammer from getting through. After breaking through the pack the first time, a jammer can score points by skating all the way around the track and maneuvering past the pack again.

CCRG is composed of four intra-league teams that bout only each other, and two interleague teams that bout other teams from around the country. Tonight's bout is a double-header with all four home teams. First, the Junkyard Dolls are taking on last year's home champions, the Night Terrors, followed by the Speed Regime duking it out with the Mobtown Mods.

The audience is an interesting mix of players' family members, many of whom have kids with them, and general fans of the sport, who are a little more rowdy. Goldman's No. 1 fan is here as well. Her son, nicknamed "Mini-vation" is wearing the shirt she made him that says "Little Terror" (a play on her team's name, Night Terrors).

After the announcer introduces the first two teams and explains the basics of the game for any newcomers, the 10 starting players line up on the track and the first jam begins. As the players skate quickly around the track, the blockers do all they can to keep the jammers from getting through. Pushing and tripping other players can take points away from the team, but that does not seem to stop anyone. They definitely don't look like moms out there hitting and shoving and doing the same things they tell their kids not to do. But for 26-year-old Jaclyn Kilheffer, a mother of two from Middle River whose skater name, "TwiBite," reflects her love of the Twilight trilogy, the violence is the best part of the sport.

"My favorite thing about it is it's a way for me to relieve stress from home and work," says Kilheffer, who works fulltime as an administrator at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. "I can come here and hit people and still be friends, so that's the fun of it."

© 2018 Chesapeake Family Life. All Rights Reserved.