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Getting to know the women of Cape Cod Roller Derby

Roller derby bouts feature intense action. This recent bout took place at the Cape Cod Media Center, which the home team affectionately refers to as “The Doll House.”

During a recent bout, the Salty Dolls hosted the Southshire Battle Cats of Bennington, Vermont. From the very first whistle, chaos ensued as the squads’ jammers and blockers made their way in fits and starts around the oval-shaped track. Clusters of skaters began to form on the track and, between hip checks, shoulder checks and the occasional skater sent flying across the floor—the Dolls began to pile up points. Teams earn one point every time their jammer passes a blocker from the opposing squad. After a close first half, the home team took control, sending the Battle Cats back to The Green Mountain State with their tails between their legs. Final score: Salty Dolls 247, Battle Cats 130.

Throughout the fast-paced bout, the action on the track was monitored by “oohs,” “ahhhs” and other enthusiastic cheers from the crowd. One of the loudest moments came in support of Rachel Hutchinson of Brewster, one of the Dolls’ newest team members. A former hockey player, Hutchinson joined the team with no previous roller derby experience—but you wouldn’t have known it from this game. She enjoyed a breakout performance, flying through the pack to complete three consecutive laps, racking up 10 points for her team while dodging hits left and right. Hutchinson was named the game’s MVB—Most Valuable Blocker—and the crowd bellowed its approval.

How did the Cape Cod Roller Derby League get rolling? One day in February 2013, Duquette Perera of Yarmouth Port was reminiscing about the fun she had roller skating growing up, and she wrote a Facebook post about wanting to start a roller derby league on the Cape. A friend, Talia Arone of Harwich, responded with enthusiasm, and with a “what’s stopping us?” mentality, the women began to brainstorm. The first “jam” they came to concerned location. But Arone quickly came up with a solution, booking time at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center. The women posted on Facebook a time and date when they’d host their first practice, and then waited anxiously to see what kind of turnout they’d get. “When we started, we had no idea if anyone would show up,” Duquette Perera recalls. “We were like ‘worst comes to worst, we’ll just split the rent.’ We ended up having 15 women show up right off the bat. They were ready—they were like, ‘all right, let’s pay our dues, what do we do? Where do we buy our shirts?’ We were shocked.”

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