Roller Derby whips up passion
The students who have seen her on campus this semester know her as Camille Ford-Atkins.
But to the Oklahoma City community and surrounding areas, she is known by her roller derby alter ego, Camie-Kazee.
Ford-Atkins, a pre-nursing student, has just completed her rookie year in roller derby with the Oklahoma Victory Dolls. She said she loves the thrill of competition.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Ford-Atkins said. “Hearing the crowd cheer for you is a wonderful feeling.”
The Victory Dolls typically pack a full house at their home rink, Mile’s Roll-Away Rink at 5800 NW 36 St. in Oklahoma City. Spectators can expect to pay $10 in advance and $12 at the door to watch the bouts, or games, which last about an hour, with a 30-minute halftime show generally featuring live music and raffles.
Women’s roller derby teams consist of four blockers and a jammer on the track during one jam.
Between each jam girls will switch off with other players on the bench to allow for longer stamina throughout the game. The idea behind the game is for the jammer to score points by skating past the opposing team’s players.
The opposing team’s blockers use every legal method to block the opposing jammer from skirting past them, including booty blocks, hip checks and various other methods.
Blockers must train hard to keep their momentum of moving forward while still being aware of all of their surroundings.
Blockers will hit other blockers to make room for their own jammer to score, while keeping an eye on the opposing team’s jammer coming up behind them to block.
Communication between the team’s players is key to timing the perfect placed hits. Each player trains for both positions on a team in the event they are needed to fill that position.
Each “jam” lasts two minutes but can end earlier if the lead jammer calls off the jam by putting her hands on her hips. There is no limit to how many jams can be played during a game as the game continues until the clock runs out. The lead jammer is the jammer who is out front.
The Victory Dolls typically have nine bouts per season, which run from February through August, and two to three bouts during the off season.
After experiencing her first game, Ford-Atkins described it as “…breathtaking, literally and figuratively.”
The Oklahoma Victory Dolls range in age from 19 to 45. They are equally diverse in background and ethnicity. Ford-Atkins said this is frequently misunderstood.
“So many girls I have talked to think because they don’t have tattoos or are on the PTA, they don’t have what it takes,” Ford-Atkins said.
“This is absolutely not true. In our league alone we have a hair dresser, a social worker, homemakers and nurses.”
Dress and hair styles vary as each member of the group showcases her own personal tastes and interests.
“Roller derby allows women to bond together in a fashion they haven’t been able to before,” said Danielle Wilkerson, aka Lucy Lockdown, a student at OCCC and retired veteran of the Oklahoma Victory Dolls.
“When you are helping and also learning from each other, it’s very easy to form a sisterly bond,” Wilkerson said.
“Roller derby is all about pushing yourself to limits that you never thought you could meet, let alone surpass. Not just physical limits but mental and emotional ones as well.”
For more information, visit their website at www.oklahomavictorydolls.com or e-mail them at contact email@example.com.