» By TIFFANY COMER – firstname.lastname@example.org
What is roller derby? “Camaraderie,” according to Wanda B Lethal.
Lethal, whose real name is Laura Nichols, is an APSU graduate student and rollergirl for the roller derby franchise the Red River Sirens. The Sirens, founded in 2010, are Clarksville’s first roller derby team.
The game of roller derby involves strategy of movement, physical endurance and teamwork. The team is made up of volunteers and they abide by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. The Sirens proudly wear the colors of red and black and sport their team logo, designed by Brandon Kettle, which is a silhouetted mermaid holding a pair of roller skates.
The team is run like a business. It has board members who are voted in and who take care of all the logistics of the team, gather sponsors and form fundraisers. Lethal was the first voted-on board member when she took on the role of treasurer.
The current team consists of 26 girls who “busted their butts,” quite literally, to earn their spot on the team. Many of these girls are students at APSU. The league holds recruitments twice a year, and they call the recruits “fresh meat.” The coaches drill the fresh meat to reach their full potential in the sport.
They are coached for one to three months on their skill assessment before they can join the team. This year there were 20 fresh meat derby girls.
Once you make the team, you must choose a name for yourself. The name you choose has to be cleared on the official roster on 2evils.org, and the clearing can take anywhere from four to eight weeks. No two names will ever be alike.
The girls of the Red River Sirens are not just teammates, but they are a family, Lethal said. She also said they are a “community within a team,” and they are always there for each other on and off the rink.
The Red River Sirens practice their skills at least twice a week during their season which runs from March to October. Their season consists of nine bouts with the first home game being held at Magic Wheels on Fort Campbell Boulevard on Saturday, April 7. Come see the Sirens dressed in their unique outfits and “jeerlead” them on. TAS