The ladies are on a roll, August 2017 Cape Cod LIFE | capecodlife.com

The quirky nicknames carry over off the track, as do the special bonds team members have formed. Samantha Moran, whose derby name is “Lamba Goddess,” joined the league in 2016 when she moved to Yarmouth from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, where she played in a roller derby league for four years. A natural roller skater since she first started taking steps, Moran says the fact Cape Cod had roller derby influenced her decision to move here. “I’ve gotten friendship out of roller derby,” Moran says. “A lot of the girls on the team have become family to me, because most of my family isn’t on the Cape. They’re very supportive and they really reach out if you’re having a hard time.”

When they’re not skating, the ladies often spend time together, participating in parades and other community events as a group. For some, the familial bonds are so strong they have decided against moving off Cape Cod—though they had planned to. “It’s exciting to hear young people are sticking around, even if it’s for something as simple as roller derby, because it becomes such a huge part of their lives,” Duquette Perera says. “I had one foot out the door, too. But then, when we started roller derby, I realized there’s no way I’m leaving now. I have met some of the best people I’ve ever met here.”

For Sarah Ancahas, all it took was watching one practice and she was sold. Today, two years later, she’s happy she joined the league. “Going from working to becoming a stay-at-home-mom was harder than I thought in different ways,” Ancahas says. “It was so great to get out of the house and be with a group of supportive women and get exercise at the same time.”

And from the interviews we conducted, it seems participating in roller derby has a way of stiffening the backbone. “A lot of the women come in, and they’re shy, uncomfortable or awkward,” Duquette Perera says. “I hope that people can come in and come out of their shell a little bit, gain confidence in the fact that they’re doing something really cool and badass. We see a lot of women’s confidence grow, their bodies change, their self-esteems change.”

For Moran, pushing herself to improve in the sport has given her the toughness to help get through situations in her life as well. “Roller derby, in general, gives you a lot of confidence,” Moran says, “because it’s a lot of pushing limits to see how far you can go. Maybe you don’t think you can get through a tough situation, and then, next thing you know, you’ve gotten through it. It’s empowering. I think once you start roller derbying, and once you get into it, it gets in your blood.”

The Cape Cod Roller Derby League practices year-round and typically plays about 10 bouts per year. In the coming weeks, the team has a home bout scheduled Saturday, August 5, against the CT Roller Girls; an away bout Saturday, August 19, versus Northampton Pioneer Valley Roller Derby; and a home matchup Saturday, September 23, against the Bay State Brawlers.

The Cape Cod Roller Derby League is mourning the loss of team member Caitlin O’Hara, who passed away in July.

Terms from the track

The following is a list of unique roller derby terminology

Fresh meat—new recruits

Hot lap—used in drills or practice, a lap skated as quickly as possible

Pack—the mass of blockers from both teams skating around the track together

Roller Derby wife—one’s roller derby partner in crime.

Whip—a technique where one skater uses an opposing skater’s momentum to propel herself

Zebras—referees

More information about the league can be found at capecodrollerderby.com.