Rock Coast Rollers create night of fun, hard-hitting chaosFans pack Midcoast Recreation Center to witness local intrasquad bout
Rockport — The Rock Coast Rollers literally took the Midcoast by storm Saturday night as hundreds of fans jammed into the Midcoast Recreation Center's rink to witness, first-hand, the wonderful, intense, fast-paced spectacle that is women's flat track roller derby.
The hard-fought action — an intraleague bout between the Thug Boats and the Battle Hips called "Coastal Chaos" — thrilled an overflow crowd that attended the first event held locally by the league, which had its local skaters break into two groups for a fun-filled evening of hard-charging, controlled track mayhem.
More than 1,000 fans of all ages enjoyed the show, which included two action-packed halves, continuous loud, upbeat music and a halftime show of remarkable dance and acrobatics.
The Rollers, who certainly rocked the house in numerous ways Saturday night, could not have imagined the reception they would receive in their first local bout, after spending more than a year honing their skills and competing in bouts around the Northeast.
The start of the 7 p.m. bout had to be postponed about 10 minutes as cars lined out of the MRC parking lot and far down Route 90 as fans packed into the arena.
The ice rink at MRC is the home of the Rollers, for the time being, and the group will hold bouts at the facility this summer before looking for a new home in the fall when the ice rink is again operational.
The Rock Coast Rollers are the Midcoast's first and only flat track roller derby league.
On Saturday, there were plenty of hip checks, hard-charging skaters and teamwork on display on the cement floor of the indoor hockey rink.
The skaters wear knee and elbow pads, wrist braces, a mouth guard and a helmet, but falling — or being knocked down — on the concrete floor at the MRC certainly causes pain and, as they say, leaves a mark. But, with their body armor in place and faces painted, the skaters came onto the track like female warriors rolling into battle.
The women skated hard for several minutes, before taking short breaks and then repeating that process throughout the night in what must have been an intense cardio workout for all involved.
There also were cheerleaders — make that jeerleaders — who kept the large, raucous crowd pumped. The skaters came into the bout in all heights, weights and age, but all took the floor with the same goal — to represent themselves and the sport to the highest standards and to introduce flat track roller derby to the Midcoast.
In the end, the Thug Boats outlasted the Battle Hips 120-100, but the final score did not much matter, as the women who make up all that is the Rock Coast Rollers extended family were simply happy to expose the area to roller derby.
"We were awed by our communities’ support," said Adina "Schrodinger's Catfight" Baseler. "We really had no idea how many would show; in fact, when we were printing bout programs we were thinking 200-400. The turnout was simply amazing. One fan said, 'The line out there –– it’s like a rock concert.”
“We were absolutely overwhelmed with the support and love we got from the community," said Heather "Hard Dash" Steeves. "It seems the Midcoast is hungry for roller derby and we're so happy to give it to them."
The Rollers began their quest to this point — hosting a local bout — in 2011. After months of practice and competing, the women, who also have become known for their community work, finally showcased their track talents on their home turf Saturday night.
The rosters, with the skaters' real and creative derby names listed, for Saturday's bout were:
Thug Boats — Whitney "Brawler D. Lite" Carpentier, Sheyawn "Mistress of the Knife" Innes, Amy "RUde Beckla" Libby, Zoe "Roll Doll" Foster, Maryanne "Sinner of Gravity" Seredynski, Leila "Scarina" Percy, Reba "Roto Tilda" Richardson, Jammie "January Jonesin' " Murphy, Heather "Hard Dash" Steeves, Amanda "Wheel Crazy" Sprowl, Kristen "Chain Lynx" Eckman, Jennifer "Ginny Wheelsley" Willette, Merydeth "Ice Cream Truck Full of Angry Bees" Lynn, Robin "Booty Thrasher" Snell, Quincy "Ivana Causepain" McCarthy and Laurel "59 Inch Nail" Butler-Pierce.
Battle Hips — Dee "Atomic Mauly" Obuchon, Brionna "Hedda Flame" Barton, Adina "Schrodinger's Catfight" Baseler, Mandy "Dynamo Daisy" Baker, Meg "Bristol Smashin' " Patterson, Amie "Sk8 Plissken" Hutchison, Bethany "Hurricane Bethany" McNelly-Davis, Manette "Mad Madim Mim" Pottle, Erin "Iron Orchid" Darnell, Jennifer "Sookie Stacked" Munson, Kate "Oxidizer" Chandler, Sarah "VegeMighty Slamwitch" Bartz, Hannah "No Heart" Gray, Carolyn "Vengeful Vegan" Marriner, Jody "Needle Stix" Dinsmore and Emma "Raging Dilemma" Theobolds.
The women who make up the Rollers come from all around the Midcoast, from Westport to Belfast, from Friendship to Union, said Baseler.
One Roller who did not compete, for good reason, on the track Saturday night, was Camden Hills Regional High School senior Emma Theobolds, who sang the national anthem, and was on the way to her prom.
Theobolds "is not only a force on the flat track, but also one of my students," Baseler said. "She was on her way to Camden Hills’ prom, and she stopped in to sing for her team –– I have to say, knowing how amazing a person she is, I got a bit misty."
And how about the league's first home bout, the crowd and the overall feel of the night?
“The excitement at the door was palpable,” said volunteer Jenni Lyn, a non-skating official.
“So. Much. Fun," said Innes.
"We've been working super hard for the last year and a half; this was the reward for all our hard work," said Steeves. "I'm just so happy that the crowd seemed pumped to see us. We've been playing all around New England, but there is nothing like playing at home with people who love you and support you right there on the line yelling your name. It's so exhilarating. Because this was an intraleague bout it was particularly interesting. I literally was put on the jammer line against my best friend a couple of times — it's odd because we practice with each other at least three times a week, so I know she knows everything I'm about to do and I know the tricks she thinks she's hiding up her sleeve. In that way, this was a bit harder than an away bout. No secrets."
“Since the bout I've had at least five little kids ask me when they can start to skate," said Richardson.
“I feel that just the sheer number of people who came out to see the bout was a direct representation of what our community is capable of, and how much we, as a whole, care for one another here in the Midcoast," said volunteer Liz Marie, a non-skating official.
At halftime, children from Studio Red, a dance studio in Rockland, as well as the Jeerleaders performed.
"We were honored to be a part of such an epic evening of pure hard work and inspiration," said Caitlin Schick, captain of the Rock Coast Rollers' Jeerleaders.
The halftime show featured the Jeerleaders dancing to 'Hollaback Girl,' choreographed by Schick, and performances named 'Jungle Animal' and 'Respect' from Studio RE. Studio Red is a dance school which offers dance technique and competition training for students 18 months to adults in a variety of dance forms, acrobatics and aerial training, and fitness classes.
Schick said there were five Jeerleaders at the event, including Caitlin "Captain Tempest in a B-Cup" Schick of Rockport, Hilary "Shady Winespouse" Flagg of Rockland, a co-captain, Joelle "The Falconer" Albury of Rockland, Rachel "Cherry Bomb Cheech" Albury of Rockland and Jeff "Annette" Obitz of Rockland.
The guest jeerleaders (in black) were Katie "KT StunsAll" Thompson of Rockland and Hanna "PomPom DeTerrible" DeHoff of Rockland.
The jeerleaders started practicing in early May, Schick said, "and for about half of us, the bout was their first ever dance performance and jeerleading has been their first dance experience. With what is estimated to have been a crowd of over 1,000 people, that is a pretty significant and major performance debut for the newbies. For almost all of the jeerleaders, [Saturday] night was also their first time ever watching live derby action, so we had to learn on our feet and make it up as we went along."
The Rock Coast Rollers league formed in early 2011 and is a member of the Womenʼs Flat Track Derby Association. With leagues across North America drawing in athletes and huge crowds, roller derby is on the rise, and the Rollers are making a name for the region as they battle teams from across the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada.
The Rollers next compete on Saturday, June 9 versus Granite State Roller Derby in Concord, N.H. and will be back home at MRC on Saturday, June 23 versus Upper Valley Vixens.
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