The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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May 13, 2013

Beckley Area Derby Dames strap on skates, defy stereotypes to celebrate Mother’s Day

BECKLEY — The Beckley Area Derby Dames slaughtered the Greenbrier Roller Vixens 250 to 156 in a Mother’s Day massacre Sunday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

In addition to many families celebrating the holiday from the stands, at least 10 of the dames are mothers themselves, promoting physical fitness, volunteerism, strength, competition and the general awesomeness of womanhood.

And these women defy not only the status quo of how we define mothers, but also how society defines derby girls.

“I think there is a stereotype that roller derby girls are mean and fighting all the time, but in reality we are everyday people enjoying a sport,” said What the Hill, mother of a 27-year-old.

She said her son was surprised at first when she joined the team more than a year ago but has since become one of her biggest fans.

Peanut ButtKickHer said her 8-year-old daughter really gets into the competitive spirit, often making signs and sometimes screaming, “My mommy’s going to beat up your mommy.”

“Derby shows the world you don’t have to fit into a certain mold,” she said. “You can be a strong, independent woman and go do what you want to do and be athletic and healthy. I try to set a good example for my child.”

Shank N. Stein is the mother of a 14-year-old boy and works as a nurse.

She said one of the reasons she joined derby was to let off some steam after spending so much of her time caring for others.

“I do this to have an outlet and to do something for myself. It is very empowering, and my son thinks it is really cool that moms can do other things besides go to work and take care of kids,” she said.

Cup O. Tea’s name may not sound menacing, but by being a steady blocker and wrangling four boys ages 10, 8, 4 and 2, she proves she is fierce on and off the floor.

“People probably imagine that I would be a soccer mom, but I don’t fit that bill. I’m way too tough for that. Way too tough,” she said. “My sons love it. They come to all my bouts.”

And as if there weren’t enough family love from the sidelines, mother and daughter duo Sonic Wave and Chicken Little have each other’s backs during the bout.

Sonic Wave said she was first drawn to the sport in 2007 because of its diversity.

“It is a sport that accommodates women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Most sports, especially for women, end after college,” she said.

Sonic Wave taught her daughter how to skate in 2010 and they have been able to take out their frustration on each other ever since, they tease.

“We are encouraging others to be fit and to be close. We are super close,” said Chicken Little.

“It’s exciting. There are not many sports that allow mothers and daughters to play together,” added Sonic Wave.

And with Chicken Little’s 1-year-old daughter already interested in watching derby, there may be a third generation derby dame in their family’s future.

During the bout, the Beckley Area Derby Dames paid homage to their mothers with a sideshow, and a portion of Sunday’s proceeds benefited the Women’s Resource Center.

“It is important for us to give back and to help women who need to be given an opportunity and who may not be as fortunate as we are,” explained Cup O. Tea.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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