On a roll: Moms get a little ‘me time’ in roller derby action

October 2017 Posted in Community

By Melissa Wagoner

Four local mothers have discovered the key to parenting might be found in an unexpected place – the roller derby rink.

“It’s important for me to do something for myself and something that I like to do,” 38-year-old Silverton resident Angie Lindstedt explained.

Lindstedt became interested in roller derby in her early twenties while living in Portland.

“When Rose City started I was like, ‘I’m going to do that one day.’ Then life happened and I didn’t actually join until I was old,” she laughed.

Lindstedt, who works as a hospice nurse and is also a certified midwife, joined a team in Salem in 2011 and immediately found comradery in fellow skater, 28-year-old Scotts Mills resident,
Gina Olson.

“We would have never met without derby,” Lindstedt said. “I think the best thing that’s come from derby are the people I met from derby; that whole woman empowerment thing, lifting each other up. They’re who I go to when I’m having a bad day.”

Beginning derby skater and Silverton resident, 41-year-old Miranda Pickner agreed. “Each person has their own insight,” she said. “Everybody is so encouraging. The community element –
I can already feel it.”

In a nutshell this rough sport consists of two 14 member teams playing two 30 minute periods during which they try to get each team’s jammer – the girl who can score the points – past the blockers, everyone else, and around the track.

“There’s all these different jobs that as a team you can go through and learn,” Lindstedt explained. “It’s a cool sport.”

Another part of what makes derby so “cool” and sets it apart in the competitive sports arena is its theatrical side. The hairstyles, makeup and costuming that adorn many of the skaters is seen in almost no other sport, and then there are the derby names.

“We didn’t choose our real names, but
we get to pick our derby names,” Lindstedt said.

Her derby name, Cervix-a-Lot, is a tribute to her midwifery career. Olson’s name, Slam Elliott, is a tribute to a favorite actor and Pickner, who hasn’t yet chosen a name, feels like it is hard choice.

“People have some really cool names,” Pickner chuckled.

Derby is not all fun and games however, and skating at top speed around a concrete arena can take its toll on bodies. Safety is a constant concern. Both teams are suited up in elbow and knee pads and helmets, and there is an extensive training process, still players know that injuries are always a part of the game.

“At times it’s kind of intimidating – the injury element,” Pickner said. “It’s motivating me that if I don’t practice this and get this strong it’s going to hurt me later. It’s a workout.”

Lindstedt said the most common injuries are broken ankles and shoulders and concussions, a fact skater Brianna Wolterman knows all too well. A Silverton resident, 29-year-old Wolterman, recently received a concussion in a match and had to take five weeks off, missing several
important bouts.

“I was really bummed to miss them,” she said. “But, I was reminded over and over by friends that my brain is important – it really is – and that I’m in it for the long haul, not just for two weekends that are a blip on the radar when it comes to this sport I love.”

Apart from the risk of injury, being a derby skater also requires a big commitment of time away from children and spouses. Lindstedt, a co-captain of her team, Thrill Kill Kittens, estimates she spends around 10 hours per week either in practice or in derby related duties.

“It’s cooler than the gym, I’ll tell you that,” Lindstedt said.

Wolterman admitted that the time she spends away from her husband Paul and their two boys, Jack who is five and Harry who is three, has been an adjustment.

“We’ve had our struggles in learning to balance the time I’m away,” she said. “I went from being home 100 percent to being gone three nights a week. That’s an adjustment for any family. But, Paul loves the community too and the person I’ve become. We have really figured out the balance.”

Pickner thinks the time away actually makes her a better parent and role model for her two children; Sage, age 10, and Willow, 8.

“Willow is pretty proud that her mom is a part of something,” Pickner said. “I think for the last few years my identity has been wrapped up in motherhood and community and I think my daughter sees that and has some pride. I appreciate being an athletic model for my child.

“I grew up doing sports but my children don’t know that side of me. I get to model that for my children and I’m really excited.”

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