Saturday, November 28, 2020

Derby divas dominate

The Lumber Jills are one of the few roller derby teams in the North Country who embody the exact essence of what it means to have girl power in sports.

With their laces tight, helmets shined and wheels oiled up to go, these roller derby divas are a sure force to be dealt with.
Hailing from Plattsburgh, the Lumber Jills have been a team since 2010. Though they are tough, there’s more to these ladies than mouth guards and knee pads. These ladies are productive members of the Plattsburgh community who have bonded together through the love of the sport.

“We’ve had college students in the past, but there’s a big range of diversity. We have moms, teachers, physician assistants, paralegals, etc,” team captain Kimberly Cummins said. “We even have some high school students training up right now who won’t be able to play until they are 18,” she said.

While some social norms might question why a woman would want to be a part of such a contact sport, team member Kristine “Boo Boo” Styles said the liberation from such norms is what enchanted her to the roller derby life.

“I was always attracted to roller derby. It is definitely a sport for non-cookie-cutter people, and I have never been a cookie-cutter person, so I was intrigued,” she said. “Roller derby is one of the most accepting sports I have ever been involved in. We have a huge gay, lesbian and transgender community that are greatly accepted.”

Danielle Baker, a blocker for the Jills, said it is often a sport of misunderstanding because of its violent depiction through media, but the sport isn’t as violent what people believe it to be.

“I don’t call [roller derby] violent at all. I call it controlled aggression,” Baker said, “It’s challenging what people think of women doing. People don’t think of women doing something like this,” she said.

Like hockey, there are rough players and people are bound to get hurt, but there are rules to keep the sport safe and fun for everyone.

“There are a lot of rules to roller derby. We try to keep things as safe as possible,” Styles said. “It’s a respect thing. You don’t want to hurt someone else. Yeah, it feels good to knock someone over because that’s a apart of what roller derby is, but we aren’t out to hurt each other,” Styles said.

Just like every athlete the Lumber Jills live for the next match or “bout,” as they would call it.

The ladies are set to have a match this Saturday in their hometown.

For team member Danielle Baker, she is confident that this bout is going to go in the Jills’ favor.

“Oh yeah, we are going to win,” Baker said.

The rest of team shares her feelings, as the thrill of excitement for their next match pumps them up with each passing day.
“I think it’s going to be good overall,” Cummins said. “We have been practicing really hard, and I think we have a really good chance of winning. It’s probably going to be a close game,” she said.

Tickets are available to the public either in advance for $10 at the Co-Op for adults and $5 for kids. The door price will be $12 for general admission, but the Jills are offering a discount of $5 a ticket for students with valid identification.

The match will take place at the City Recreation Gym at 52 U.S. Oval.

Whether it is roller derby or just their 9-to-5 day jobs, the Lumber Jills can teach one a thing or two
about women empowerment without a hint of shame, but rather a hint of sweat.

Email Cierra Patterson at cierra.patterson@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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