Roller Derby returns to Vallejo area – Times-Herald

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to miss a variety of things. Whether it was spending time with family, attending music concerts, or being able to watch a football game in person, it truly felt like precious moments were wasted.

For Meg Luce, it was a little different.

“Well, I missed hitting my good friends,” Luce said, with a chuckle.

That time has passed, however, as Luce, also known as “Luce Cannon,” brought back a favorite pastime by participating in a roller derby with the Carquinez Quad Squad on Saturday at the Solano County Fairgrounds.

The contest against the Monterey Bay Roller Derby team was the first home contest for the Quad Squad after two games on the road and two long years of waiting for real competition.

Carquinez Quad Squad is Solano County’s premier flat track roller derby league. Its mission is “to educate, empower and grow a roller derby community, while providing the opportunity to engage in a sport that is about volunteerism, competition and health”.

In 2021, the Carquinez Quad Squad joined the California Derby Galaxy (CDG) – a coalition of WFTDA-governed roller derby leagues in the Greater Bay Area. CDG’s goal is to provide roller derby athletes and officials with numerous and diverse opportunities to train and compete, at different levels and frequencies.

CDG is also committed to reducing barriers to entry for systematically marginalized participants by providing tax relief to enable their participation.

“I’m really excited to play this year because it’s been almost two years,” Luce told The Times-Herald on Wednesday. “But it’s been good because we’ve been able to keep a lot of the same team members over the past two years and we’ve developed a great camaraderie.”

Corby Selzer, known on the team as ‘Madeya Ink’, said many people have rediscovered roller skating or tried the activity for the first time during the pandemic, saying they want to do an activity at the outside. She also said the pandemic has forced the Carquinez Quad Squad to adapt.

“I think we were able to spend more time focusing on basic skating skills and that really helped the team come together,” Selzer said. “It allowed us to progress in those kinds of skills where we might not have been able to before.”

Shana Krallman “Hittsburgh” agreed with her teammate.

“He couldn’t have any contact due to the pandemic, so we had to find other ways to push the team,” Krallman said. “We became more creative in what we were doing. We were constantly asking ourselves, ‘How can we do this exercise differently?’ We became much better skaters during that time.

Krallman is a teacher when she’s not competing in roller derby, but she’s always found herself to be very competitive.

“I’ve played sports all my life, including rugby,” Krallman said. “I was working on the east coast of Maryland and I knew nothing about roller derby, but my students kept coming to tell me that I would love roller derby and enjoy it. I kept telling them no for about a year until i decided to do it just to get them off my back.i had no idea how to skate or play but fell in love with the sport straight away.

Roller derby is a roller skating sport practiced by two teams of 15 members. Roller derby is played by approximately 1,250 amateur leagues worldwide, primarily in the United States.

The game consists of a series of short scrums (jams) in which both teams designate a jammer and four blockers to skate counterclockwise around a track. The jammer scores points by overlapping members of the opposing team. Teams attempt to hinder the opposing jammer while helping their own jammer – in effect, playing both attack and defense simultaneously.

Endurance racing began to morph into the contemporary form of the sport in the mid-1930s, when promoter Leo Seltzer created the Transcontinental Roller Derby, a month-long simulation of a road race between teams of two professional skaters. The show became a popular traveling exhibit but quickly lost popularity.

However, roller derby began its modern renaissance in Austin, Texas in the early 2000s as an all-female amateur sport organized by women. As of August 2006, there were over 135 similar leagues and there were over 2,000 amateur leagues worldwide.

“I needed a hobby on my own,” Selzer said. “The first time I saw roller derby I remember saying, ‘Yes, I want to do this, where do I sign up? And that was in 2012.’

Selzer said one of the things she loves about the current league is that it’s driven by the people who play it.

“We have a board, we have meetings, and we make decisions for ourselves,” Selzer said. “It’s a big investment of time, because we all have jobs outside the league, but it’s worth it. We are all part of it and it is very encouraging. We try to meet people and build them.

Luce started playing roller derby in 2019 and immediately took a liking to it. Like Krallman, Luce played many sports growing up on the East Coast, mostly in Vermont.

“I was a pretty stubborn competitor, but I remember growing up in the early 90s and seeing ice skaters like Tonya Harding, Kristi Yamaguchi, and I thought I could be like them and throwing myself in for a double axle,” Luce said, with a laugh. “Instead, I was falling on the ice again and again. Shortly after, I discovered roller derby. I showed up at the first team meeting and from there played an important role in helping navigate the side of business management as well as competition.

Although the sport has been known to have a theatrical side in the past, particularly with creative alternate names for players, Luce said players are trying to rewrite that narrative. She said the sport is not something she turns into later in the day after work, in fact she will often wear t-shirts having to do with roller derby to help raise awareness.

“The derby names that we come up with, that aspect is really fun, but I’m me,” Luce said. “Playing roller derby is just an extension of me and my personality. It had a big positive impact on my life and I was able to make some really good friends because of it. I’m so lucky to having the relationships I have with this team and the people involved, I’m really looking forward to practices and now games.

For more league information, visit [email protected], www.instagram.com/carquinezquadsquad or www.facebook.com/carquinezquadsquad.

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