Roller Girls on Roller Girls

Photo by Joe McGarity

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This week’s Fantom Penguin story is brought to you by, an online book and music store focusing on creators in the Northstate,


Roller Derby continues to pick up speed in the Northstate.  The Fantom Penguin talked to Skater Relations Liaison, Lea White who goes by the skater name, Laya Out.

“We started as the Angry Beavers.  We actually started as a sister of the Nor Cal Roller Girls which skate out of Chico because we didn’t have a venue at that time nor did we have enough girls to form a team of our own, but we tried to with about four or five girls in 2006 or 2007.  I started hanging around a couple of the girls that were skating and they were commuting to Chico for practices and I couldn’t start then because I didn’t have the time to commute to Chico, but as soon as they got in at Big League, which I believe was the end of 2006 – 2007, I started skating here.”

The Fantom Penguin also spoke with Head of PR, Scarz O’ Fury, Brenda Scarbrough.

“Redding Roller Girls is our league name.  We have two teams under the league name.  We have the Angry Beavers and the Rolling Dead.”

“With our team we’re always changing.  We’re always improving.  We have a lot of boot camps that we do.  We bring in nationally ranked skaters to train and condition us.  We travel a lot.  This year the Angry Beavers went to Bakersfield to do an invitational, which was kind of a big deal for us.  And we’re just always adding new skaters to the sport.”

Laya Out:  “A couple years ago we started getting involved with Think Pink.  It’s a really good cause for someone like a roller derby team to be involved with because it’s a disease that affects women primarily and so we get involved with Think Pink.  We go out early in the morning and we hand out the bags of goodies and we have calendars printed to go in those bags, hand out carnations at 5:00 in the morning, so it’s kind of, you know . . . but we do it.  And usually once a year in October we have a bout that is our breast cancer bout.  We call it the Beavers for Boobies Bout and we’ll have breast casts done of some of the team players and auction them off and then give all the proceeds to Think Pink.”

“And then we also lost a dear friend and teammate to diabetes two years ago, Princess Slaya.”

“And she passed away, so we ended up having a bout to benefit a local diabetes cause here in town, so that was cool too.  And there’s a lot of things.  We did an Alzheimer’s walk last year.  Anything that we can do to give back to the community we want to do.”

Scarz O’ Fury:  “We do Blood Source.  We have also participated with Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  We’ve helped the Salvation Army with their yearly Christmas kettle drive.  We’re always looking for new outlets for us to get plugged in with the community.”

Laya Out:  “The sport itself is kind of hard to understand sometimes because so many people will say, ‘Okay, where’s the ball?’ or ‘Where’s the puck?  What’s the point of this?’  A lot of people don’t understand that the jammer is the one that gets the points and the jammer gets a point for every opponent that they legally lap.  So when they go through the pack, every person that has a different color jersey than she does, if she gets around them legally without knocking them over illegally or something like that, then that’s a point.  So that’s how that works.  I think that another misconception about roller derby is that we’re not athletes.  We are athletes.  We work really hard.  We train really hard.  Most girls do other types of athletic activities to make sure that they can do this sport.  It’s not as easy as it looks.  It’s really difficult to get on skates and do what we do.”

“What’s great about derby is that all the women that are a part of this are either students or moms or teachers.  They all have their everyday lives that they take care of and this is their love.  This is what we love to do for ourselves.  It’s a really great sport for girls to be involved with for themselves.  But we’re definitely not mean people or going to beat anybody up.  That’s just who we are when we’re skating.”

Scarz O’ Fury:  “I think a lot of people, especially the older people remember roller derby from the Sixties and Seventies where it was just an all out sport, a lot of elbows, a lot of pushing, shoving.  There’s a lot more rules and regulations.  There’s a lot of strategy that we do.  There is a point to the game.  It’s not just all out skate hard and knock girls over.  There is a point-scoring system.”

Laya Out:  “It’s amazing how into derby our fans get.  They love roller derby.  They love to watch it.  They love to be involved in it.  They like to fill positions like NSO’s, reffing, I mean any way people can be a part of it.  They hold signs up.  They love us.  After a bout there’s nothing better than a little girl coming up to you and asking you for your autograph you know, because you don’t feel like your anything like special or wonderful.  This is just what I love to do.  But then when a little kid asks you to sign, it’s wonderful because it really does inspire some people out there to be strong women, to be independent women, to do something that you love for yourself.  So yeah, that’s where our fans come from.”

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