When P Hitty (then and alternately known as Patty Fetterman) posted, “Bad day at work… anyone want to start a roller derby team??” she really didn’t imagine that she had put into motion the Pottstown Rockstars Roller Derby Team. She met friend, neighbor and owner of Funky Lil Kitchen, Tonda Woodling, for a few drinks, and the idea sounded even better. Woodling (who sports the derby name: Hillbilly Hustler) had actually been looking to join the Philadelphia Liberty Belles Roller Derby team, but with the distance and the time commitment being an obstacle, thought her dreams of roller derby had been dashed.
Pretty soon, they found that a roller derby veteran was living in Pottstown and wanted to get back on her skates, so the two enlisted the help of Lida Addison (who goes by the derby name of “Low-blow Lida” ) and got a group of 7 women together at The Brickhouse. They wanted to figure out if they could really start a roller derby team right here in Pottstown. Apparently, they could. Fast forward a few months and plenty of planning and practicing; the team now has 19 members ranging in age from 25 to 40, with more of the women on the 40 side than the 25.
Fetterman describes the derby experience as something between nostalgia and girl power. Listening to her talk about how much fun (and what a workout) derby practice is makes me wistful for the endless childhood days I spent at the roller rink. The local rink where I grew up, Guptill’s Arena, was an old blueberry farm that had been converted into a roller skating nirvana, and amazingly holds the Guiness World Record as the largest indoor skating rink in the world. I clearly remember lacing up my beautiful white leather skates with the purple and pink yarn pom-poms my mom helped me make out of leftover yarn.
Of course, roller derby is quite a bit tougher than those elementary school skating sessions, but the feelings might just be the same. It is almost enough to make me think even I could be a roller derby rock star (almost being the key word).
This coming Saturday, you (and I) can get that old feeling back again and hang out at Pheasantland Roller Rink and see what roller derby is really all about. The Rockstars are raising money to get their team registered with the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) and get their apprentice status in the league.
The event starts with an open skate from 3:30 to 4:30 and then the Rockstars will take the rink for a demonstration. At 5pm, you can pay $3 to go up against either Low-blow Lida or Busty Cage (known in real life as Nikki Henry), who are the veterans in the group. There will also be a bake sale and raffles all to help the team get into the WFTDA league. The raffles listed for this event are pretty amazing-everything from a Starbucks gift basket to a trip for 4 to Mexico (yes, to Mexico). You can check out more information about the event and the team by visiting their facebook page at: www.facebook.com/pottstownrollerderby
Here’s the rundown of the event:
Location: Pheasantland Roller Rink
551 Manatawny Road, Boyertown, PA 19512
Their website: www.pheasantlandrollerrink.com
Admission: Donation to the team. Bring some extra cash for the raffles, bake sale and more.
Skate rentals are only $1 and they have inline and quad skates available.