Hell on Wheels

Don't let the pious name fool you. As Sister Mary Jane of the Lonestar Rollergirls league, I play for keeps.

I TRIED OUT FOR THE LONESTAR ROLLERGIRLS in March of last year. I had been playing basketball with the City of Austin men’s league, and most of my friends knew me as the tough girl. One weekend when I was out of town, my friends went and saw a roller derby bout. And when I got back, they were like, “We have found the thing for you. You get to beat the crap out of girls.” I’d never seen roller derby, not even on TV, so I didn’t know what the rules were or if it was staged or real. And I hadn’t roller-skated since the sixth grade. But I just went to the tryouts and told myself, “This is your one chance. You can do it.” I landed on my tailbone when it came to the jumping. But I made the team.

Now I skate with the Holy Rollers. We’re undefeated so far this year. There are three other teams in our league: the Hellcats, the Rhinestone Cowgirls, and the Putas del Fuego. We’re also adding another team, the Cherry Bombs, and we have a traveling team, the All Scar Army. It’s completely volunteer-based. Our dues go toward an injured-skater fund, so we can pay the insurance deductible for any girl who gets hurt. We have at least two practices a week, and our season runs from February through November; we have about fourteen bouts a year. This month we’re playing for the Calvello Cup—named after Ann Calvello, who was known as the Queen of the Derby back in the day—at our Roller Derby World Championship, in Austin.

When roller derby got started in Austin, in 2002, it was the local founders who came up with the names and outfits for each team. They wanted to make it all sexy. So as a Holy Roller you’ve got to have a plaid skirt; we’re the Catholic schoolgirls gone bad. We buy our skirts online from some poor school that has no idea. Then you personalize your uniform, and you also have to come up with

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