Dressed in protective gear and armed with a set of wheels, 26 year-old Floral Park resident, Caity Tweedy, also known as “Dropkick Dolly” played on Team Black of the all-female Long Island Roller Rebels at Old Bethpage Skate Safe America on Saturday, March 8.
Versing Team Pink, the Roller Rebels split their team for the game. Pink racked up 225 points and Black gathered 187. At the end, both teams shook hands and joined as one to celebrate yet another game together.
“I’d compare this sport to football and NASCAR on skates,” explained Tweedy who has participated for three seasons with the Roller Rebels.
Participating in such a sport takes stamina and strength, both mental and physical.
“It takes guts being in a roller derby. You have to be able to conquer your fears and step outside your comfort zone,” Tweedy said,” It is definitely a risky sport. We’ve had broken ankles, collar bones, jammed fingers, but everyone absolutely loves it.”
Derby members have specific and organized responsibilities. Each team has a jammer, the one with the star on her helmet, and a pivot, the one with the stripe on her helmet. The pack consists of four blockers and two jammers from each team.
In the beginning of the game, the pack moves out away from the starting line and begins their way around the track blocking the opposing jammer while making a path for the other jammer to get through the pack. They must skate one full time around the track before they can start scoring points.
Learning the rules and becoming derby ready is not an easy task, but Tweedy trained to become a professional player.
“It took me about nine months to
pass my skills test; it’s pretty rigorous to ensure your safety as well as everyone else’s.” She explained, “You need be able to skate on one foot, squat and hop over objects. You also have to skate 27 laps in five minutes and take a written test. It’s all very necessary.”
Tweedy became a Roller Rebel because she was attracted to the uniqueness of the sport.
“Unlike most sports, it’s an advantage to be different. Being short, very tall, small, or large, is a great advantage. Everyone can do it,” she laughed.
Playing in an all-women’s team is also a thrill for Tweedy.
“As a women, I’ve never played a contact sport before. The boys have hockey and football. It’s nice to put on my padding, hit people and be a tough woman,” she smiled.
Home bouts are played at Skate Safe, 182 Bethpage-Sweet Hollow Rd. in Old Bethpage. The Roller Rebels have an upcoming all-star bout on Saturday, April 5 in Bethpage. Visit www.longislandrollerrebels.com for a schedule of future games or to learn about joining the team.