Roller Derby Divas: Part Three
Don't let the fishnets and tank tops fool you. The Eerie Roller Girls are tough.
"I guess it just takes a certain type of person to be able to come out here and beat yourself up and fall down and get up, and fall down and get up." said Eerie Roller Girl Eryn Schaefer, a.k.a, Meredeath Loosewheel.
According to Schaefer, it takes both physical and mental strength to roller derby.
"A lot of grit...you can't really cry about a lot of things," said Schaefer. "You sort of just have to suck it up and be tough. Kind of test your ability of how strong you are."
Her teammates agree.
"You just have to be here to work your butt off," said Helena Gazella, a.k.a. Smash Bandicute. "Being on your skates and pushing and pushing for two hours is a lot harder than you think it is."
The team practices two times a week at the Presque Isle Skating and Event Center. Women from all walks of life, united through their passion of derby.
"In our league alone we have professors at Penn State here, we have a doctor in the league, we have people who work at the co-op, we have stay-at-home moms...I'm an engineer," said Eerie Roller Girls Coach Karoline Swanson. "All walks of life."
Despite the agressive nature of the sport, the players I spoke with say that roller derby has had a positive impact on their lives.
"I've built some really strong relationships with these girls," said Gazella. "I never thought I would have that and it's nice to come and know that these girls have your back."