By Pat Maurer
The Mountain Town Mayhem girls are tough. There’s no doubt about it but roller derby isn’t quite what it was like it was portrayed in those 1970s movies or TV shows.
“People come to watch us and the next thing you know, they have ‘derby fever’,” said League Treasurer and team member Andrea Mata. She said she has been on the team since April, 2011. “We are out there giving it our all with a combination of endurance, fitness, enthusiasm and fun. I love it.”
On the rink they are ferocious. Off the rink they are people just like the rest of us. They are from several area communities including Linwood, Alma, Clare and Mt. Pleasant. The age of the team members range from 21 to 48 years old. The team members’ real life work is in professions like graphic design, business marketing, customer service and day care.
There is even an X-Ray Technician and a licensed Veterinary Technician on the Mt. Pleasant based team. “We come from just about any type of home and career,” Andrea said. The 17-member Central Michigan Roller Derby League was formed just last November and only has one team, said League President Kristy Saxton recently. “But, we are hoping to grow,” she added.
Eight of those skaters are “in training.”
They are called ‘fresh meat’, said Andrea. “It takes from four months to a year and a half before a team member is ready to compete in a ‘bout’,” she added. “It depends on each skater’s, effort and attitude.
They also have to pass a physical and a test of written skills before they are considered “bout-ready.” Team members each pay monthly membership dues which offset the rink use and support for training.
The team practices Mondays, Thursdays and every other Sunday at Spinning Wheels Roller Rink just north of Mt. Pleasant. From September to June, they compete against teams from other leagues across the State about once a month.
And, they participate in many fundraisers for various charities including Relay for Life, the Isabella Community Soup Kitchen, Women’s Aid, the Central Michigan AIDs Walk, Breast Cancer Awareness and Big Brothers – Big Sisters. In each even a portion of the ticket sales go back to the community.
Their most recent fundraiser was for PEAK, Mt. Pleasant Parks and Recreation when they and the Eastside Derby Girls fought it out at Spinning Wheels for a good cause.
Why do they do it? Andria said, “We are just out there having tons of fun. Winning is nice, but the fun and comradely of doing something that a lot of people don’t know anything about or can’t do is really the best part of this.”
She added “It is all about fun and sportsmanship. It’s about empowering ourselves as women and the roller derby has been entertainment and therapy for all of us.
The Mountain Town Mayhem team’s next “bout” is Saturday, April 13 against Mt. Morris. Their next home derbies are May 18 against Floral City and June 1st against Flint City.
Spectators are welcome to come and watch. After you have seen women’s “fl at track” Roller Derby in action, you might want to join in the fun. They have the protective gear and skates you need. All you have to bring is a mouth guard.
Keep up with the team [CMRD] on Facebook Twitter and at www.centralmirollerderby.com.