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Windy City Rollers Fri Mar 29 2013

WCR Rookies Ready To Roll

wcr-logo.pngIf you'd asked her a year ago, Julie Smith might have told you she had no intention of trying out for the Windy City Rollers.

A year ago, Smith, who now skates for the Rollers' B-team, the Second Wind (as well as their home team, The Fury) under the moniker Jule B Sorry, was just involved with Derby Lite, a fitness program designed to give women the conditioning and skating skills of roller derby without the impact.

"I had no intention of trying out for the Windy City Rollers when I was with Derby Lite," said Smith. But after quickly advancing through the three levels of Derby Lite, Smith said it was not enough. "There was a need for more."

Though Smith was not rostered and won't be skating, the Second Wind and the Rollers' A-team, the All-Stars, open their travel seasons tomorrow. The Second Wind face off against Toronto Roller Derby's CN Power, while the All-Stars take on the Montreal New Skids on the Block.

Kate Dunn, perhaps better known as T.S. Helliot, is a new addition to the All-Stars. She joins the A-team after skating with the Second Wind the last two seasons.

Life with the All-Stars, Dunn said, is intense. Though there are a total of 25 skaters who are technically on the All-Stars, only 16 of of them are put on the roster for each bout. Of those, Dunn said, two are alternates and won't skate unless another skater can't..

"There's just no guarantee," she said. "It's a constant fight to get a spot."

But that fight, Dunn said, does not make teammates into enemies. Quite the opposite, in fact.

"I really do feel it brings out the best in everyone at practice," she said. "It's a lot more supportive than I was expecting."

Though new to Windy City, Megan Twibell (known as Sara Problem) is hardly a derby rookie.

Twibell came to the Rollers in July from the Rat City Roller Girls in Seattle. She makes her debut with the Second Wind tomorrow.

Twibell said that when she moved to Chicago, she wasn't expecting to play derby, but was asked to coach the Rollers' C-team, the Third Coast, by former All-Stars captain Jackie Daniels, who she knew prior to coming to Chicago. Eventually, Twibell decided to start playing again and was drafted by home team the Double Crossers in January and then made it onto the Second Wind.

"It's hard to walk away from derby," she said.

Hard though it may be, Twibell believes she'll do just that within a small number of years. Though she's in some of the best shape of her life, she said she knows she's getting older and wants to leave the sport before that affects her play.

"I like to go out on top," she said.

Twibell is excited to take on Toronto and even went so far as to talk a little smack ahead of Saturday's bout.

"There's been rumors that they think they're going to come in and clean house on us," she said. "But they'll be in our house."

Smith agreed.

"I think we're going to blow them away," she said. "We're the best B-team in the country."

If you go

  • What: Windy City Rollers travel season openers.

  • When: Saturday, March 30. Doors open at 5pm. The first bout between the Second Wind and Toronto will start at 6pm. and the All-Stars will face off against Montreal shortly after the first bout ends.

  • Where: UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine

  • How much: General admission tickets are $20 and VIP seating costs $35. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster or at the door.

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