The 580 Rollergirls
By: Mason Orso
The new year is well underway, and for Lawton’s 580 Rollergirls, a new season of roller derby comes with it.
Practice for the roller derby season has officially begun as members of the 580 Rollergirls (tallying at roughly twenty players) practice at Laugh Out Loud roller-skate rink.
Their first game is in March.
Roller derby gives its members the opportunity to create their own identities with names like Molly Meet-Your-Maker, Half Pint, Viking Barbie, Hell’an Agony, Merideath, and Cali Skum.
It exists locally in the Lawton area in the form of the 580 Rollergirls. They operate under the non-profit sanctioning body of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTBA).
Even though the team is not officially linked with Cameron University, it does seem to be a natural outlet or extension for current and prior students.
Cali Skum is a current Cameron student and like some of her teammates, she is a military veteran.
The mission statement of the 580 Rollergirls is “To roller-skate, empower women, and create a league that helps foster community spirit.”
Team leader and Cameron alumni Molly-Meet-Your-Maker said “It’s like Girl Scouts meets football on skates.”
Roller derby is a full-contact sport that stays on the move and requires skill.
Anyone interested in jumping into the fray of roller derby without being ran over or churned into a pulp will need some skating skills.
Team leader and alumni of Cameron Viking Barbie said that skill required for roller derby is obtained through practice.
“We do skills testing,” she said. “You have to be able to demonstrate that you can skate and do different things like jump and hit before you can actually play in a game.”
“Some girls who are naturals on their skates like Cali, who just joined but was a roller blader before; she just blasted through it, and she was ready in three months.”
People who join with less experience can look to Barbie for a good example of what hard work can accomplish.
“Those who join with less experience like me, I’ve never skated before, and it took me a year before I could actually be eligible to play in games,” she said, “and a lot of people just don’t stick it out through the year you know? Because it is a time commitment.”
As is the case with most sports, the time committed by the players doesn’t stop at the game itself. It extends into their own community through service.
As Molly Meet-Your-Maker says, “our mission is to empower women through the sport of roller derby and we give back to other areas in our community.”