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My roller derby name is Mae Hem (updated with correction)

Oopsie Daisy (hey, that would be a good Roller Doll name!)…

Pink Champ-Pain was kind enough to stop by and say hi. She corrected some venue/important age info I got wrong regarding the final bout of the year. Here’s what she wrote:

One minor correction on the Oct bout, since we are at the Fillmore for Oct 24th, it is a 16 and over show. But please bring out the kidlets next spring.

Tickets for Oct 24th, in advance (from the skaters) are $15, or $20 at the door.

We hope to see more moms AND dads coming out to watch. We promise a memorable date night!


Back off, lady. See the star on my helmet? That means I’m the jammer for my team, and it’s my job to get around the knots of intensely competitive women on skates to wrack up points for the win, for glory, for the cheering crowds.

Two weeks ago, my only experiences with roller derby were brief moments of mulling the pop culture references to the sport. I always thought it was brutal, bloody, provocative, and strictly for women whose tattoos covered more than 5% of their skin surface area. In other words, not me.

My blood pressure elevates when I have a hangnail, and I am about as tough and sexy as the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s grandmother, Ma Cellulite.

When some of the Mile High Mamas were invited, with our families, to check out the Denver Roller Dolls in action, I jumped at the chance. I wanted to see what roller derby is really like. It wasn’t something I’d seek out to see on my own. It wasn’t on my grand list of places to take the family for a fun night on the town.

We didn’t tell the kids where we were going when we left the house that night. I wasn’t sure how to describe what they were going to see. When we arrived at the Denver Coliseum, the kids thought we were going to see Disney on Ice. It was the same venue where we saw High School Musical on Ice last December.

No ice. No Troy, no Gabriella. No Sharpay!?


Instead, we met Kendra Blood, Pink Champ-Pain, Minimum Rage and a few of the other Denver Roller Dolls. It was an important night, getting ready for the Western Regionals which would decide which teams would be sent to Nationals in Philadelphia.

I got a chance to talk with some of the players before the first bout, and I learned a lot.


First, these women are true athletes. Kendra Blood (not her real name) is a marathon runner. She explained the players practice 8 hours every week and must be in top shape in order to compete at a national level. Many of the players have a background in speed skating and other sports.

The players come from a diverse set of circumstances. Doctors, nurses, CEOs, moms, grandmothers, attorneys—Roller Dolls. All. Women from all walks of life skate competitively, which dazzled me a bit. Moms? Like me? Like you? Two of the women I talked to were moms. One had older sons, another had a young daughter.

An impressive fact about the whole organization is that it is all-volunteer, from the scorekeepers, refs, players, ticket-takers. They are a non-profit organization and they are very involved in the community, partnering with charities like Project Angel Heart and Girls Inc.


I had to ask about injuries, because that (along with the fact I skate like a trained circus bear on its first day) is the one thing that would hold me back from considering a career in roller derby. I don’t like the owies. Owies hurt me boo-boo, mama! Bandaid, thanks mom. Kiss it? Hugs.

Torn knees, bruises, and general wear-and-tear seemed to be about the worst of it. From watching the bouts, it was clear their are rules and regulations designed to keep the bouts exciting, but safe. Part of the intense practices involve training the players to fall safely.

The experience of watching roller derby was a little like I expected. There was loud music and some of the players had provocative nicknames, but if your kid is under 12 or so they’d probably go over their heads. The action was fast-paced and the halftime show was very funny.

I found the crowd to be a diverse mix of families, ages, and backgrounds. It was a fun, festive atmosphere, especially as the crowd grew larger later in the evening. The boys had a great time bashing each other over the head with their blow-up bammer thingies. Tommy and Joel danced in the aisle, which was no big deal because everyone there was having fun it seemed.


We had to leave when Beatrix was denied her 8th bathroom trip of the evening. She began yelling how she wanted to skate.

“I wanna skate! I wanna SKATE!” she told a few ladies in the bathroom. Pee? No, skate! Skate!

She knew a fun thing when she saw it. Big girls, competing, having fun, being irreverent. Going fast.

You should go. The next home bout is October 24. Kids 12 and under are FREE.

Check out the Denver Roller Dolls here.

14 comments to My roller derby name is Mae Hem (updated with correction)

  • “My blood pressure elevates when I have a hangnail, and I am about as tough and sexy as the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s grandmother, Ma Cellulite.”

    HAHAHAHAHA! Me, too. I’m a softie.

    I wonder what Roller names Troy, Gabriella and Sharpay would have?

    Fun review of a fun evening!
    .-= Lori in Denver´s last blog ..Festival: Judgy McJudgerson =-.

  • Ok, you may have convinced me to go check it out too. But what if the same bug bites me that bit Beatrix and I find myself screaming, “I wanna skate, I wanna skate?”

    “Big girls, competing, having fun, being irreverent. Going fast.”

    I want to be one of those big girls too. Sounds like a good time.
    .-= joanne´s last blog ..Wednesday Wonderings =-.

  • Hi “Mae”,

    Thanks so much for writing about your experience. I’m glad you took the opportunity to come check it out. There are still many misconceptions about our sport and I think we’re still working to legitimize it in people’s eyes.

    Regarding the nicknames, our league is actually considered unusual in that our travel team (the one that will be going to Philly next month!) uses their legal names when they play. It’s our attempt to get beyond the perception that this is all entertainment, and have it seen as a real sport.

    Thanks again for checking it out with the family. I’m sorry if we disappointed any of the kids looking to see Minnie Mouse doing triple-axles!
    .-= Kendra Blood´s last blog ..The Mile High Club Earns a Spot in the National Tournament =-.

  • Pink Champ-Pain

    Mae: Thx for bringing the family and I’m glad they had a blast… we’ll be looking for the next gen of skaters, starring Beatrix (Be-Trippin?). It was great to met you and visit with you.

    One minor correction on the Oct bout, since we are at the Fillmore for Oct 24th, it is a 16 and over show. But please bring out the kidlets next spring.

    Tickets for Oct 24th, in advance (from the skaters) are $15, or $20 at the door.

    We hope to see more moms AND dads coming out to watch. We promise a memorable date night!

  • B

    A stadium in our town has boxing on some nights roller derby on others. I sort of got the impression roller derby was mostly boxing on wheels. Thanks for the real scoop.

  • Wow, now I’m intrigued. We’ve got nothin’ like that around here. The cornfields of IA aren’t near as exciting. Sounds like a ton of fun!

    Mae Hem…I love it.
    .-= Heth´s last blog ..A Year =-.

  • This is too awesome. I saw Whip It last week and can’t wait
    to go see
    it again. Sigh.

    .-= Adventures In Babywearing´s last blog ..This is all because of him. =-.

  • cdthomas

    Look under United States/Iowa, to check for local teams:

  • We have a recently formed roller derby league in my area, and I was one recent pregnancy away from joining. I love going to roller derby, and I’d still maybe like to join a team myself at one point. Glad you guys had fun.

  • I was curious, do you know of any other fun things to do with boys who are around 7? (I know you do.) My hubs has been trying to take Ethan and do something every weekend he is here. Just the 2 of them. It has been awhile since I have entertained a 7 year old.
    .-= joanne´s last blog ..Does this make my butt look big? =-.

  • That is SO cool!
    .-= Rach´s last blog ..Polly Pocket speaks =-.

  • Awesome recap, Mae! Sorry I’m late to the comment party.

    Your MHM sista,

    .-= The Casual Perfectionist´s last blog ..Skeletons =-.

  • You are SERIOUSLY a Derby rock star. I so wish I could have gone with you but what a fun write-up. What do you say we get OUR roller-skates on for the next event? 🙂

  • What a great post! I skated against some of the Denver girls when some were on the Birth Control Betties, and I was on Team MILF a few years ago at RollerCon. For the record, I have no tats, either. 😉 It is definitely an amazing sport, and even though I haven’t skated in a couple of years now, I still have dreams about it. Very vivid dreams–and the longing to play is not fun to wake up with! My derby name is Tyra Durden, and I skated with Derby City Rollergirls. Working on a YA roller derby fantasy now. Trolls, fairies, roller derby. It’s fun. 🙂

    Nice to meet you!

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