Getting to know the women of Cape Cod Roller Derby
Soon, word began to spread and the league began to grow. With every week that passed, new skaters, ranging in age from early 20’s to mid 60’s, began showing up for practice, eager to learn a new sport and/or sharpen their skills. “We couldn’t believe it,” Duquette Perera recalls. “It was actually working. It was really taking off. It was pretty neat watching it grow like that. It could have gone one way or the other.”
In 2014—about a year after their first practice—the skaters were eager to put their skills into action. Following open skates, hours of drilling and visits by guest coaches, the team’s first official bout was scheduled. The league’s two teams, the Dolls and the Dockyard Danes—who have now joined forces as one—were set to face off in Hyannis. Once again, Duquette Perera found herself wondering if anyone would show up. But as the ladies geared up, they found themselves looking out at a sea of some 500 fans. “We sold out,” Duquette Perera says. “We couldn’t let anyone else in. Next thing we knew, we were looking at the stands and it was a packed house. We had people in the bleachers, people sitting on the floor, people standing. We couldn’t believe it.”
After that first bout, though, staff at the center reinstalled an ice rink, and the derby ladies found themselves once again without a home. During their second season, while the team searched for a new home track, they played all away bouts against the Battle Cats, and Connecticut teams including the Yankee Brutals of Trumbull, and the Bedrockers from South Windsor. Eventually, the team found the Cape Cod Media Center, and after a few visits, they began to call it the Doll House.
Today, about 40 women participate in The Cape Cod Roller Derby League. There’s a “first-string” of 12 skaters—the number needed to skate in a bout, and about 30 additional players who fall in the category of “Level 2,” otherwise known as “Fresh Meat.” Those in the latter category are new to the sport and still learning to skate and stop. As they improve, they may move up to become a “first-string” veteran or “roster skater.” One of the perks of reaching “roster skater” status is that the player can come up with her own personally tailored derby name. From “Darth Rightus” (Grace Decotte of Brewster) or “Gladys Nightmare” (Moe Leary of Wellfleet) to “Sass Kicker” (Sarah Ancahas of Yarmouth) and “LuLu Nori Morse” (Duquette Perera), the names are crafted with skill—and intended to send a humorous, quasi-intimidating message.
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