Roller Derby Taking Off In Augusta

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Wednesday Jan. 21, 2009
Augusta, GA -- It's not a sport you hear about often, if at all, but roller derby is starting to take off here in Augusta.

Roller skating is usually a nice leisure activity. But roller derby? No, that's roller skating with an attitude.

"It's not pretend. We really get bruises. We've had injuries, some broken ankles, concussions, split chins, and 2 of them." said Kate Colclasure.

Despite the injuries, roller derby has grown right here in Augusta in one year. Thanks to the Soul City Sirens. The team was founded in January 2008 with just two skaters, but thanks to some unique recruiting techniques, they are a full fledged team now.

"My husband and I were downtown for First Friday back in April and we saw some girls in fishnets rolling down the sidewalk and I said, hold on, wait a minute," added Colclasure.

"I went online and found out we had a derby team." said Jennifer Panowich. "I came out and showed up and I used to skate all the time. It's a little stressful but fun. Brings us all together. It's been exciting."

The rules of the game are pretty easy to pick up. So as long as one knows how to skate and is willing to take a beating every once in a while. Roller derby truly can be a sport for the young or the young at heart.

"It's very physical but yet very friendly because even though we play another team, we'll go out afterwards and talk about what we did, even though you knock a girl to the ground. We're still friendly afterwards," added Panowich.

"Well, it's a true sport. I'm 41 and at 41, what kind of sport do you get the chance to participate in besides maybe tennis? I'm not knocking tennis. And where do you get to wear fishnets when you're 41 unless you're in a strange occupation," added Colclasure.

The Sirens kick off their season Sunday in Augusta at Red Wing Rollerway at 7p.m. and are always looking for new members to lace up the wheels.

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