CRUISIN’ AND BRUISIN’
by DEBBIE HATCH
Published - 12/15/10 - 12:54 PM | 7334 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jammer “Lemon Drop” — Kelly Cameron (in pink helmet with star) — speeds through the pack while a competing jammer (in white helmet) wipes out on the track. The San Diego Derby Dolls roller team boasts several members from Ocean Beach.	PAUL HANSEN / THE BEACON
Jammer “Lemon Drop” — Kelly Cameron (in pink helmet with star) — speeds through the pack while a competing jammer (in white helmet) wipes out on the track. The San Diego Derby Dolls roller team boasts several members from Ocean Beach. PAUL HANSEN / THE BEACON
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Inside Sin City Skates in Loma Portal — a store owned by Derby Dolls members Denise Grimes and Trish Ethier — team member Ines Maria Vollmer (aka “Crushin Cuban,” left) laces up skates for team mate Ana Friesema (aka “Freezer Burn”). 
	PHOTO BY JIM GRANT / THE BEACON
Inside Sin City Skates in Loma Portal — a store owned by Derby Dolls members Denise Grimes and Trish Ethier — team member Ines Maria Vollmer (aka “Crushin Cuban,” left) laces up skates for team mate Ana Friesema (aka “Freezer Burn”). PHOTO BY JIM GRANT / THE BEACON
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The San Diego Derby Dolls are currently the No. 1 banked-track team in the world and are ranked 20th in the world in flat-track derby — and women from the Peninsula are among the hotshot skaters.

Two of the team’s members even run a skate shop in Loma Portal.

“This [roller derby] is one of the fastest-growing women’s sports in the country and the world,” said Lynsey Richardson, whose derby name is “Hebrew Hammer.”

WHO ARE THEY?

The Derby Dolls are made up of mothers, legal secretaries, financiers, lawyers, small business owners and teachers, to name a few. Derby Dolls are all shapes and sizes, said Richardson.

The Derby Dolls are made up of four competitive teams. They commit about 12 hours a week, plus entire weekends, traveling to away bouts. Each player chooses a derby name — something unique to each woman. They are 18 years old and older and hail from locations across San Diego County. However, a good number call the Peninsula home. Here is a look at some local teammates:

• Erin Jones, “OB Noxious,” 28, has lived in Ocean Beach for about 2½ years. She has been skating with the roller derby since February 2009. She is currently a blocker, but hopes to one day play the coveted point-scoring jammer position.

Jones has played sports her entire life and thrives off the physical and aggressive sport.

She chose her derby name because she said she loves Ocean Beach and wanted a phrase that would represent where she lived. She hopes to skate as long as her body will allow.

• Trish Ethier, “Trish the Dish,” moved to San Diego in November 2008. She previously played roller derby in Arizona and Nevada. The Derby Dolls drew her to San Diego.

“It [roller derby] is more and more complex as people get better at it,” said Ethier, co-owner of Sin City Skates, located at 2775 Kurtz St., Suite 5, in Loma Portal.

She said there is no thrill like skating in the derby.

• Ethier’s business partner is Denise Grimes, “Ivanna S. Pankin,” 41. The two started the business when they were skating in roller derby in Las Vegas. It was a way for them to provide quality, inexpensive roller derby gear to their teammates. However, the business took off and the duo set out for San Diego specifically to skate with the Derby Dolls, Ethier said.

The pair moved the business with them and they now ship gear all over the world from the Point Loma location. Sin City Skates also sponsors nearly 200 teams, including one in Switzerland, said Grimes.

“I don’t think I’ve ever loved living anywhere as much as I love living in O.B.,” Grimes said.

• Brenna James, “Black-Eyed B,”28, also lives in Ocean Beach and is currently in the “boot camp” phase — the pre-Derby Doll’s training stage.

“I like getting to know all of the girls,” James said.

She has met women of all ages and abilities, and she came into the sport not really knowing how to skate.

However, the coaches train the women well and push the boot-campers just enough, James said.

They work on skating skills, blocking skills, strength and how to strategize with teammates during a bout.

“It’s really fun to be around so many strong women,” James said.

WHAT IS THE GAME ALL A-BOUT

A bout, as a game is called, takes 60 minutes and is either made up of four 15-minute quarters or two 30-minute halves, said Steve McCargar.

The 34-year-old McCargar, aka“Screwy Lewis,” is one of the few men allowed in the secret practice building in downtown San Diego. The reason for his unusual access: he is a referee for practice sessions.

Each round within a bout is one minute of play, followed by 30 seconds of inaction, during which the players get reorganized for the next minute’s action. The clock does not stop, except for timeouts.

The banked track is more fast-paced and the hits are harder than on the flat surface, McCargar said. However, this does not make bouts on the flat track any less physical or intriguing to watch, he said.

During a bout, four women from each team skate around the track and attempt to block — or hip check opponents — in an effort to clear a path for the jammer, who is the fifth woman from the team, to advance through the crowd. The jammer gains a point for each person she passes.

“The object of the game is to slow and speed the track,” Richardson said.

The women are simultaneously on both offense and defense, trying to thwart their opponents while supporting their own jammer. It is not uncommon to have scores in the high 100s.

“It’s rough and tumble,” Richardson said.

Regardless of the skill level, everyone starts in boot camp.

“We love our boot campers because they are the little flames that keep us going,” said Jacquie Bazinet Tolson, “Shiva Mi Timbers.”

Sometimes women drop out of boot camp because they do not realize the extent of the sport’s physical demands. To graduate from boot camp, a skater must pass a series of skill tests. One test is for the more-commonly seen “whips.” This is a skating maneuver involving one woman skating from behind and being “whipped” forward — thrust ahead by momentum — by grasping the front skater’s arm and being propelled ahead.

The attire for the bout is sporty and a bit sassy at the same time.

“I think we want to keep a little bit of our feminine side while we’re hip checking and blocking our opponents,” Tolson said.

The uniform needs to be functional, but still stand out as eye-grabbing team apparel.

“You don’t want baggy fabric flapping about when you’re skating,” Tolson said.

The women wear tight fitting outfits, which sometimes include fishnet tights and racier items.

Each of the four teams within the Derby Dolls has its own uniform.

Home games are played at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The away games can take them as far as Baltimore or as near as Los Angeles. Bonnie D’Stroir, the woman who started the San Diego Derby Dolls a little more than five years ago, was originally a coach for the Los Angeles team. However, she lived in Oceanside at the time and wanted to start a San Diego team.

The new season begins in January.

For more information about the Derby Dolls, visit http://sd.derbydolls.com.
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