“Roller derby really shows you can be and do whatever you want”
On May 19, the MedCity Mafia roller derby pulls a double shift - they play the Harbor City Roller Dames at 7 p.m., but before that, they’ll drill nearly 100 Girl Scouts in Derby 101.
In a closed practice, skaters from the team will run drills and lead discussions on roller derby for Girl Scout Badge Day, said Angie "Knuckles" Herron, the team’s head of PR.
Instead of lacing up skates, the scouts will play "Sneaker Derby," which simulates jams without the wheels (and hitting).
"It’s taking an enormous team effort, and everybody’s pitching in and taking on several roles for the afternoon," Herron said. "It’s been a great opportunity for us skaters to work together in a different way than what we do on the track."
The River Valley Girl Scouts developed a badge program with the Minnesota Roller Girls a while back, but this is the first year the MedCity Mafia have hosted, said Brenda Danner, the program coordinator at River Valley Girl Scouts.
"Minnesota Roller Girls were kind and generous enough to allow me to come observe their badge event, which they’ve been hosting for years; my takeaway from that afternoon was the genuine, good-natured, energy and vibe," Herron said. "I’m hoping that our badge event will engender that same positive vibe and that everyone will walk away feeling like they’ve just experienced something real and fun."
Girl Scouts at every level will earn athletic badges for demonstrating sportsmanship and team skills, Danner said. The badges could have been earned through participation in any sport - volleyball, track, swimming, etc.
"They’re learning to set goals, they’re learning to take care of themselves mentally and physically, and be part of a team" she added.
Roller derby, she said, is a natural fit.
"The brilliance and timelessness of badge-earning … is that they’re supposed to be girl-led, girl-focused," Danner said. "It’s really cool to see them with these new role models who all have different careers, but have this cool, tough alter ego (when) playing. Roller derby really shows you can be and do whatever you want."
Both roller derby and Girl Scouts are all about empowering women, Herron said. "When you put together a group of diverse, uniquely talented individuals striving for a common goal and working together through challenges, a magical synergy occurs," she said. "And through our collective passion, energy, and work, we all experience growth and success. I’m guessing Girl Scouts experience a similar transformation."
Members of River Valley Girl Scouts will attend the bout, so Herron suggested spectators arrive early to get a good spot, as the stands may be crowded. At half-time, the Girl Scouts will receive special MedCity Mafia roller derby patches.
What: Med City Mafia vs. Harbor City Roller Dames
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19 (doors open at 6 p.m.)
Where: Graham Arena, 1570 Fairgrounds Ave. SE, Rochester
Cost: $8 advance, $10 at the door, kids 10 and under free. medcityrollerderby.com