A New Hitting Force

One by one, cars turn into the parking lot of the Leesburg National Guard Armory, which serves as a flat-bank track for the newly formed Northern Virginia Roller Derby league.

New all-female derby team takes root in NoVA

by Lorin Drinkard

derby
courtesy of ‘Debbie Does Dulles’

One by one, cars turn into the parking lot of the Leesburg National Guard Armory, which serves as a flat-bank track for the newly formed Northern Virginia Roller Derby league.

“I skated in rinks as a kid,” says Cynthia Cashwell, better known as “Debbie Does Dulles,” one of the league’s co-founders. “But then I didn’t skate for at least 20 years.” After hearing about roller derby when she moved to NoVA in 2008, she decided to check it out. Then she, along with her co-founding partner Debb “Slade Ripfire” Chen, realized that Washington D.C. and Maryland had their own leagues, and NoVA needed one, too.

Women in the community responded overwhelmingly with interest in an all-female derby league. Karen Sandreczki, aka “Zsa Zsa Doom,” even traded in her knitting needles for quad skates. “‘Loudoun Dirty’ talked it up and said it was really fun,” says Sandreczski. “It’s surprising that I would like it so much. I don’t like team sports … but I like hitting people. It’s an activity that gets me out of the house, and it’s exercise I’m willing to do.”

When recruiting skaters, “Cinnamon Burns,” one of the league’s fiery redheads and a communication consultant by trade, made sure to ask the following: “Do you want to hit people?” The league isn’t all rough and tumble, though. “People are throwing shoulders on the track … but we all go out for beer afterward. It’s a sisterhood.”

The League also supports different charities each month, living by their motto: “Skate Hard, Give Hard.”

(September 2011)

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