Roller Derby in The 570
Roller Derby Party and Rock Show at New Visions this weekend
You would normally want to stay out of the way of anything barreling at you at great speeds and traveling atop eight wheels; but not this Friday night.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals are teaming up with New Visions Studio and Gallery and throwing a Roller Derby Party for the ages. The party, a combination music show, fundraiser and auction, takes place Jan. 18 at New Visions (201 Vine St., Scranton) with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds raised from the event will go to the roller derby team to help with the cost of new uniforms, traveling expenses, practice space rental and costs associated with their recent WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) membership.
The Roller Radicals are The 570’s only all-female roller derby team. Established in September 2009, the team brings together skaters from the region (some as far away as Binghamton, N.Y., and Stroudsburg) and all ages for a common purpose: the love of their sport, roller derby. Not only are the ladies a force to be reckoned with in the rink, but they also play an active role within the community. The team has lent its support to many local charities and causes such as the Women’s Resource Center, Blue Chip Farms Animal Rescue, March of Dimes, the Santa Help Line and has collected food donations for local pantries at their bouts.
“As a team, we’re really close,” said Melissa Johnson, Roller Radical skater and coach. “I consider everyone on the team a second family. I know the girls feel the same way, even the dysfunctional parts. We really care about each other and representing roller derby in the area. We are known as the ‘nice’ team. We represent ourselves as strong women. We come from all different backgrounds. A lot of us have full-time jobs. We are social workers, lawyers, dental assistants. You name it — we do everything. It’s a really good representation for women. We’re a different type of athlete and I think that’s important. We push ourselves really hard.”
It is through the team’s fun-loving camaraderie molded by roller derby that the women have discovered surprising friendships.
“Everywhere we go we have a good time. We like to smile,” said skater Jenipher Trude. “We come from all walks of life. Our youngest skater is 19 and our oldest skater is 43. We have mothers, and non-mothers and the entire team is filled with pet lovers. I’m in my thirties and I never thought I would find a group of girls I could really bond with; this is my whole life. You become best friends with people you never expected to be friends with.”
The party at New Visions is open to the public, and those 21 and over can B.Y.O.B. A variety of snacks and drinks will be provided and auctions will be held throughout the evening. Some items up for auction include custom art and craft pieces made by the derby girls themselves and some donated pieces from outside artists. Some male musicians performing at the party will also be put on the auction block “for a dance, but nothing crazy” Johnson said. There will also be a roller derby merchandise table, raffle baskets, a 50/50 drawing and more.
Music will be provided by Ric Spandex, To Hell With This and Those Clever Foxes.
“I’m really excited for a different clientele to experience how cool roller derby is so they can become life-long fans,” Trude said.
“I’m looking forward to a really great night,” Johnson said. “We’re hoping that we get our names out there, both Roller Radicals and New Visions, and have fun with a different group of people in the community. It would be cool if we got some new recruits and new fans. I’m looking forward to spending time with my teammates and taking the team to the next level in 2013. We hope to be more involved in the community, let people get to know us and love roller derby.”
— tom graham
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals Roller Derby Party will be held at New Visions Studio and Gallery, 201 Vine St., Scranton, on Friday, Jan. 18. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for gentlemen and $5 for ladies. Call 878-3970 for more information or visit www.newvisionsstudio.com. For more information about the Roller Radicals, visit www.rollerradicals.com or www.facebook.com/rollerradicals.