Roller derby members are some of WKU’s own

Tucker Davis, head coach of the Vette City Roller Derby team, instructs players during practice at the Skate Box on Feb. 2. Several members of the team are faculty members at WKU, including Davis, who teaches math at South Campus.

Monica Spees

Brightly colored helmets, shorts and tights made the glossy floor a blur of hues. The whirlwind rainbow eventually ceased abruptly, and the colors mixed together in a tumble of knee pads and gloved hands meeting the rink with resonating smacks.

Such is the life on the Vette City Roller Derby teams.

“Ibuprofen was my best friend (after my first practice),” Louisville freshman Alexandra Brumley said.

Brumley, a photojournalism major who is currently going through a six-week boot camp for the roller derby, said she went to one practice per referee Jeremy “Zero” Copeck’s urging and “fell in love with it.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re big or tiny as a toothpick,” Brumley said. “There’s a place in derby for everyone.”

According to the team roster, diversity plays a big role in roller derby. More than a dozen WKU students participate on the team, as well as six WKU faculty members.

There are 27 members between the Vixens and Bowling Green Hot Broads.

Head Coach Tucker “Tuck Norris” Davis said roller derby was a bit foreign to him when he started coaching it with a friend.

“When we first started, it was just a bunch of people trying to do stuff,” said Davis, who mentioned that everyone skated in blue jeans at first. “None of us had any clue how to train for roller derby. But I was determined to try.”

When Davis’ fellow coach had to drop the position, Davis said he snatched up books on leadership and researched websites for drills and other information.

Davis said leading was only half the challenge. Most of the women who showed interest in the sport had never participated before. Some of them had never even skated. But after some training and team encouragement, Davis said all the players were doing well.

“Any woman, regardless of ability or self-confidence can come out and benefit,” Davis said.

Nashville junior and elite captain Lauren “Delyria” Lott transferred from the University of Tennessee. She joined the team here and she said she enjoys Bowling Green’s teams due to the team members’ respect for and kindness to each other.

With internal issues under control, Lott said the team goal is to be the best in the state.

“If we dream hard, we can do it,” Lott said.

WKU alumna Hart “Trial N Terror” Carwell said striving to be the best in Kentucky comes with its challenges.

“You’re out there to get hit and hit each other,” Carwell said.

But Carwell said there was more to  roller derby than simply learning the drills and how to skate.

“We try to be as not intimidating as possible (to newcomers),” Carwell said. “It’s all about having a good attitude. We want you here regardless of how good you are.”

Davis reiterated the group’s acceptance of new players and of each other. He said he thinks the team was able to bond by learning about skating together.

“There’s something about roller derby that gives everybody on skates a real sense of family,” Davis said. “It’s such an awesome community. Everyone, in spite of their differences, helps one another along.”

Brumley, who will receive a roller derby nickname after she completes the boot camp, also attributed the team’s amity to even more than just wobbling, falling and triumphing together.

“Once you’re in derby, it won’t be a hobby,” Brumley said. “It’ll be a lifestyle.”