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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 18.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Mad Rollin' rookies: Four first-year Dolls talk about breaking into derby
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This Saturday, the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller derby league will be hosting their fourth bout of the 2009 season at the Alliant Energy Center. If you've had the chance to catch a bout this season, you've probably noticed a lot of fresh new faces -- and, of course, catchy new names -- out on the track.

These are the 2009 rookies, who toiled last summer and fall through "Babydoll Training" -- or perhaps more specifically, months of practice, training, a few injuries, and more practice -- in the hopes of securing a spot on one of the four home teams. Around thirty women tried out in June, and those who remained after the initial cut attended three practices per week all summer long until the official team draft in September.

Now, halfway through their first regular season as bona fide derby girls, the next generation of Dolls are stronger, faster, and more passionate than ever about derby. The Daily Page spoke with a few of them about their experiences so far this season.


Lolcat
Elise Haynes, a.k.a. Lolcat, is a new member of the Vaudeville Vixens. She works at CapTel during the day to supplement her real passions: teaching ballet, tap, and jazz dance to kids, and writing graphic novels -- one of which was recently accepted for publication.

The Daily Page: What motivated you to become involved in roller derby?
Lolcat: When I first heard that Madison had a roller derby league, I couldn't believe that I hadn't been introduced to it sooner, because it was everything I dreamed it would be. It's athletic and expressive and unapologetically girly, whatever your definition of "girl" is. The first bout I saw, I said, "I have to do this!"

Besides skating, with what parts of the MRD community have you been involved?
Before I was drafted, I spent a season as a volunteer Rink Rat. Even though it's a small job that only happens on bout day, I took it very seriously and had a lot of fun helping and being a real part of the league.

What has been the most challenging part of your first season?
The most challenging aspect of my first season has been cooperating with my body to be the best skater and smartest player I can be. Managing injuries, discovering good fuel foods, strength and endurance training, being bruised and sore -- I've had to develop rituals to prepare myself for practice and bouts and then to recover from them.

What has been the most rewarding part of roller derby so far?
Absolutely everything. I love being active and learning new physical techniques. The game is mentally challenging, too, so it satisfies my analytical side. Most of all, I love the self-expression. A lot of girls build a persona for the track, but I don't feel that separation -- I'm just myself.


Sakaho
Trisan Vincent, a.k.a. Sakaho, is a new member of the Quad Squad. In addition to owning her own clothing store, Hoi Polloi, and working as a stagehand, Saki is passionate about a little bit of everything -- from motorcycles and jewelry-making to fishing, tattoos, and being a mom.

The Daily Page: What motivated you to try out for roller derby?
Sakaho: The thought of a bunch of seriously competitive females drew me in. It's exciting to meet other women who have a drive to win and are passionate about what they do!

What has been the most rewarding part of your first season?
I love to see the difference in my strength and endurance. Going from new mom to competitive skater, I really notice a difference.

What is one of your derby goals?
To get in better shape and be a stronger player. I really want to be known as a serious challenge to opposing skaters.

How has being a part of MRD changed your life?
Beyond the sport, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes. This experience has really taught me a lot about how to make an organization run smoothly, how awesome it is to have a network, and that everyone has a unique ability to bring to the table. But also on a physical level, its just feels good to train, and it feels even better to win!


Major Kusanocky
Brenna Farmer, a.k.a Major Kusanocky, spent the 2008 season as Bout Coordinator, a position that she likens to the derby equivalent of a stage manager. When she's not skating, she does website work for Broadcast Interactive Media. With no previous skating experience, she trained hard, tried out, and got drafted onto the Vaudeville Vixens.

The Daily Page: What has been the most rewarding part of your first season?
Kusanocky: Meeting so many freethinkers, brainiacs, extreme athletes, and genuinely nice people.

How has being a part of MRD changed your life?
I was born with a muscular abnormality in one leg that made me a late bloomer when it came to running, jumping, and other basic physical activities. I was not a graceful child. As an adult, being able to rip around on skates makes me feel physically free in a way I've never really experienced before. It's a lot like flying.

What are some of your derby goals?
I'm not very imposing physically, but I plan to work towards becoming one of those players that overcomes the limitations of lesser mass by using intelligent hits and agility to get the job done. And of course, I want to be a credit to my fabulously skilled team!

What's your favorite part about being a Mad Rollin' Doll?
Explaining the bruises.


Charlie Hustle
Charlie Hustle, who does not wish to reveal her daily identity, is a shiny new star of the Reservoir Dolls, and works as a billing and intake specialist at a law firm here in Madison. Finding a new outlet for physical activity, becoming part of a new community, and discovering her inner kick-ass self was what brought Charlie to the Dolls.

The Daily Page: What's the best part about being a Mad Rollin' Doll?
Hustle: Having fun! Whether it's playing derby, signing autographs for the next generation of skaters, or jumping in a lake in February for a good cause, Mad Rollin' Dolls gives me so much to smile about.

What has been the most challenging part of your first season?
My first challenge was to learn how to skate. Before Babydolls, I think I was 10 when I last put on a pair of skates. Once I got the skating thing down, the challenge has been to push myself to be a better player, and to stay on top of the flurry of activities and other work that the season brings.

What has been the most rewarding?
Seeing the support from not only friends, but random strangers who are now die-hard fans of the sport.

How has being a part of MRD changed your life?
Besides being in the best shape of my life, I've noticed a change in how I'm more productive at work, and overall more fulfilled. As much as this is a physical sport, it's also the strategy part of the game, and the work I've done with amazing minds on our committees, that has pushed me beyond what I thought I could accomplish.


In case you missed it, the third bout of the season on March 7 might have been the most exciting night of roller derby that Madison has ever seen. And that's not just me talking. The Vaudeville Vixens faced the Unholy Rollers in a true fight-to-the finish. The game was tied 72-72 at the final buzzer, and the Unholies nailed the win in a final overtime jam with a final score of 83 to 78. Meanwhile, the Reservoir Dolls took on the Rockford Rage of Illinois in another high-scoring battle royale. With just seconds remaining on the clock, rookie jammer Charlie Hustle eked out the victory, sealing a final score of 141 to 137.

The next bout will be held at the Exhibition Hall on the Alliant campus on Saturday, March 21. Doors for the bout open at 5 p.m., and the first jam starts at 6. For the night's inter-league match-up, the Paper Valley Roller Girls of Appleton are coming south to face Madison home team the Quad Squad (0-2). The Reservoir Dolls (2-1) will take on the Vaudeville Vixens (1-1), and the Unholy Rollers (2-1) will have a bye.

Tickets for Saturday's bout are $10 in advance or $12 at the door, and are available at the league's local sponsors, including Freedom/Knuckleheads, Capitol City Tattoo, Cha Cha Beauty and Barber, High Noon Saloon, and Lakeside Press, and will be available at the Exhibition Hall on bout night. You can also buy them here online. A portion of proceeds from the bout will be donated to the Respite Center.

After the bout, the Dolls will be heading to the Majestic Theater where Knuckle Drager, the Warhawks, and Daggermouth will keep the party rolling till the wee hours. Admission to the show is free with a ticket stub, $5 without. And if for some ridiculous reason, like, say, you get lost in the jungles of Borneo, you miss the bout, tune in to WORT 89.9 FM at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 23, when the "Access Hour" will feature play-by-play coverage and commentary from the bout.


Melissa Faliveno skates as Harlot Bronte with the Mad Rollin' Dolls and works as an editor and freelance writer in her spare time.

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