Local Womenâ€™s Roller Derbies Skate into Action
Not Your Mamaâ€™s Roller Derby
A new epidemic is sweeping through Southern Oregon: Womenâ€™s Flat Track Roller Derby. Women of all ages, shapes and sizes have come together to bring this sport to our area. The Roller Derby program at Roller Odyssey in Medford is headed into its second year, and the rapid growth of players and fans has been incredible.
Sheldon and Cheryl Masterson, owners of Roller Odyssey, started the program last spring to offer something different to new and seasoned skaters alike. All participants in the program get skating lessons and individual coaching (not to mention the cardiovascular exercise). Sheldon Masterson comments, â€œWe have a wonderful group of women and men that make this happen. I consider them my friends and family, and it has been great to see so many of these ladies develop into such good skaters. We do as much as we can to help them so they have fun and feel confident in their own abilities.â€
The programâ€™s inception has sparked curiosity in women from many different backgrounds who have come to check it out.And most have found a new â€œhome away from homeâ€ on skates. The program has participants with daytime careers in acting, law, construction, catering, business ownership, teaching and more. Linda Webb (Bones McBreakinâ€™) says, â€œIn the daytime, I am a business woman. When itâ€™s Roller Derby time, I shed that persona entirely. Derby is a great way for me to get my aggressions out, get some great exercise and make friends I would never have made otherwise.â€
Participants and spectators quickly realize this is not the Roller Derby of the past. Years ago, Roller Derby was all about providing a show for spectators, with many staged fights and what seemed like pro-wrestling moves. During the hey-day of the derby, many players were trained to use martial-arts moves to take their opponents down. It really was a brawl out there on the old banked tracks! The Roller Derby of today is just as exciting for spectators, with lots of hard-hitting action, knockdowns and pileups. What is also evident is the camaraderie of the participants. Tiffany Maude (Naughty Maudie) says, â€œI love the camaraderie and the grass-roots feel of our program. Skating with 30+ women of all different abilities and watching them grow is awesome! It is also nice to be part of a growing sport. People everywhere are taking notice of Roller Derby and recognizing that we arenâ€™t just out here roller skating; we are real athletes, and we work hard.â€