Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars

What started out as a quick facebook status update after a particularly tough day at work has turned into a force to be reckoned with.

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

Time: 3:30-6:30

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.

Writing camp

Well, tomorrow I leave for 10 days in Vermont, where I’ll be attending lectures, readings and writing workshops pretty much from 8 am – 9 pm every day. All books, all writing, all words, all the time. About a month ago, I was in town at a meeting, and I described this low-residency master’s degree program (I do this 10-day gig twice a year; this time next year I’ll be giving a lecture & a reading and will get my degree.) Someone at the meeting – I won’t name names! – looked pretty horrified to hear that I think this is just about the best way anyone could ever spend 10 days 🙂

But will I really be leaving Pottstown behind? Impossible! I’ll be checking email and even posting here from time to time. The truly awesome news, though, is that Rosemary Keane, who took us on a whirlwind tour of some parks in Amity, Douglass, New Hanover and Boyertown last summer, will be filling in as a guest blogger. I know you’re in really good hands; she has some excellent posts lined up. The first story, which will be posted first thing tomorrow morning, is about a group of Pottstown chicks who really know how to roll! Thank you, Rosemary, and welcome back!

Free housing counseling workshops offered

Genesis Housing Corporation will hold FREE workshops on Tuesday evenings, January 18th, January 25th and February 1st, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the PDIDA Offices, 139 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. National Penn Bank is sponsoring these workshops and is offering gift cards to anyone who pre-registers and attends all three workshops.

The workshops are designed to help to:

·         Understand Credit — Information on credit scores, improving your scores, re-establishing credit, dealing with debt.  Workshop participants can obtain a free credit report with scores (Tuesday, January 18, 2011).

·         Money Management – Information on preparing realistic budgets that are more than just monthly bills, prioritizing spending in tough times and understanding how current spending impacts future financial options (Tuesday, January 25, 2011).

·         Home Buying Basics — Information the home buying process — finding a realtor, home inspections, Agreements of Sale, mortgages and first-time homebuyer grant programs (Tuesday, February 1, 2011).

Nikki Holcroft, an award winning and certified housing counselor, will teach the workshops. Ms. Holcroft has more than twenty-five years experience working as a housing counselor, mortgage banker and community lender. Ms. Holcroft has worked with Genesis Housing Corporation since 2001 and teaches monthly classes on credit, money management and the home buying process. Ms. Holcroft also provides individual housing counseling sessions to help clients achieve their financial goals.  Ms. Holcroft has worked with families to restructure their mortgages, avoid foreclosures and reduce their debts.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Genesis Housing Corporation at 610-275-4357 or online at www.genesishousing.org. Registration forms can also be obtained at National Penn Bank, High and Franklin Streets, Pottstown, PA or by calling National Penn Bank at 610-327-0400.

(To download a flyer regarding the workshops, click here: Housing Counseling flyer.)

Cheers for 2011!

I took the plunge this morning, along with about 120 other more daring Polar Bears at Pottstown’s 4th Annual Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by the Parks & Rec Department and organized by Bill & Sue Krause. Hundreds watched from the banks of the Schuylkill in Riverfront Park. Here’s a link to The Mercury’s early coverage.

I only went about thigh-deep. My feet went numb within about 10 seconds. Yes, I wore a wetsuit. With the practically balmy air temp – in the 40s – the suit was more useful as a barrier against the Schuylkill River slop that got stirred up and squished between my toes. The smell coming out of the river rivaled that of a failing septic field.  Yes, it was a uniquely charming outdoor experience.

In a surprise appearance by my younger sister and her sons, I was accompanied in the river by my brave 13-year-old nephew, Patrick, who went in a lot deeper. Thanks, you guys!! The bonfire steamed everyone dry, people continued with the tree toss, hot dogs & sauerkraut and hot chocolate warmed people up, and there were some lucky winners of a community card game. This was one more community event that drew hundreds from all around the region – an awesome start to 2011!

(If I ever figure out how to upload the video shot by my other nephew, I’ll let you know :-))

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