Skating fast, jumping, aggressive defense, witty nicknames and unique uniforms are just small part of what makes a winning roller derby team. The most important piece of the puzzle is the teamwork, and that's something the Boomtown Hooligans have in spades.
Fort Stewart's own Boomtown Hooligans are a junior roller derby team for all genders, ages 8-17. The team practices at the Corkan Fun Center, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45 pm.
“On our team, we put the kids first,” said Gregg Masnick, the team’s coach. “We will be competitive, but the growth and development of the kids is our top priority.”
Roller derby is a sport that has constantly evolved since it originated in the Illinois banked-track roller skating marathons of the 1930s. Banked tracks, as the name suggest, are circular tracks with banked curves that are tilted inwards towards the center of the circle.
Teams consist of 15 players whose positions are either blockers or jammers and and a pivot— which is a player that can switch from a blocker to a jammer if the star helmet covered is passed to them. A blocker’s main purpose is to keep the opposing team’s jammer from scoring points while clearing a path for her own jammer. A jammer scores points by pushing through the pack of blockers and circles the track during two-minute jam intervals. It’s a high-intensity, contact sport that many find to be full of fun and action.
In roller derby, it’s tradition for each member to have a unique nickname. Some are witty and funny while others sound fierce and feisty. These are akin to a wrestler’s stage name or a pilot’s call sign. Fans can spot names like Professor Aggressor, Lady MacDeath, Swamp Chickn, Crash N Burn, and Slamazon on the backs of Boomtown Hooligan jerseys during games or practice.
“Roller Derby is a great community to get into; everyone is so accepting here.” said Leyna Masnick, Boomtown Hooligan team member and daughter of the current coach. “I am super lucky that my parents were open to the idea of roller derby and that my father is the coach of this team.”
Though it is a competition, safety is always paramount. USA Roller Sports specifies players can only use quad roller skates in order to ensure their safety. Quad skates provide better balance and stability on the track and they place less stress on a player’s feet and ankles. They also provide more grip, which is important for skating numerous laps.
“This is a very healthy sport that pushes kids out of their comfort zone,” Masnick said.
For more information on the Boomtown Hooligans or other events at Corkan Fun Center visit stewarthunter.army.mwr.com/programs/corkan-recreation-area.