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Parenting Articles
New Year, New Identity:
Local Moms Hit the Rink and Get their Groove Back

(posted on True North Parenting)
By Heather Larson


heather larson

The quiet mom sitting next to you at the park just might have an alter ego, changing her appearance and demeanor for a period of time each week as she steps out of her parenting role and reclaims her sexy, strong, confident self while venting her frustrations in a healthy way.

With two leagues in Bend, many moms — some shy, some outgoing — have gotten their pre-parenting groove back by skating in the roller derby. Far away from the daily grind of changing diapers, driving carpool, and cooking family meals, they have joined a sisterhood where the members call each other by "derby names" like Rusty Needles, Saucy Wench, and Suicide Jane.

In place of "mom gear" their uniforms include: fish nets, booty shorts, mini-skirts, and shiny belts along with hair and make-up reminiscent of old KISS posters. At practice, common conversation topics veer away from typical parenting dilemmas and include talk about rink rash (an unpleasant side effect of sliding across the track and leaving a layer or two of skin behind), grand slams, and jamming. Roller derby provides skaters with an unconventional and freeing outlet for blowing off a hard day at work.

The following are four derby moms who redefined themselves through skating:

heather larson Nicole Tucker, aka Saucy Wench
Thirty-six-year-old Nicole Tucker has three children, ages 6, 9, and 15, and works as a Certified Midwife at Motherwise Community Birth Center in Bend. Two nights a week after work, she sheds her role as a caregiver and becomes Saucy Wench, #7 for the Cinder Kittens on the Lava City Roller Dolls League.

"Being a mom and midwife means constantly caring for and nurturing everyone around me. As much as I love it... it leaves me drained and emotionally exhausted," Tucker explains. "Over the years I began to feel like I was losing my identity... my sense of self."

As for what roller derby has done for her, Tucker states, "When I return to my family and to work, I have renewed energy and sense of fulfillment. It's the most freeing experience for me. I feel strong."

Tucker did some speed skating in her youth, so the minute one of her patients mentioned the roller derby, her eyes lit up. Although she was 13 years old when she last skated prior to the derby, she said the skill came back to her in a brutal sort of way. At her first practice, Tucker was hooked.

Although getting injured was definitely a possibility, Tucker says she broke her foot at a water park, so roller derby injuries didn't frighten her.

"You can't live in a bubble," says Tucker.

Her kids love that their mom skates in the derby and her two sons have decided they want to be referees when they grow up.

heather larson Lynda Beauchamp, aka Humble Pi
Forty-one-year-old Lynda Beauchamp, mother of one, teaches yoga to adults and middle school students and also teaches math at a middle school.

"In the roller derby world, I'm old," says Beauchamp. "Yet it makes me feel powerful and brings out my competitive side."

Beauchamp says she's always liked to skate, but not in a competitive way. She never thought the aggressiveness of the roller derby would take ahold of her, but it has.

"I didn't think the aggressive part would work for a passive, peaceful yoga teacher like me, but it appeals to a part of me that I didn't even know was there," says Beauchamp.

Her derby name, Humble Pi, blends her yoga-like nature with her math teaching (pi). Most of the time, Beauchamp plays pivot for Smokin' Ashes, another team in the Lava City Roller Dolls League.

Combining skating and outrageous clothing was an opportunity Beauchamp just couldn't pass up, so she signed on and now she's been skating with the derby for three years. When she skated for the Moulin Bruise team, she wore bustiers and ruffle skirts; now it's thigh-highs, a garter belt, and a short skirt.

heather larson Jamie Olson, aka Suicide Jane
Thirty-eight-year-old Jamie Olson, mother of five, is currently working toward a business degree in marketing and management. Olson brought the business of roller derby to Bend and made the Renegade Roller Girls League a non-profit 501c3 organization. Though she loves skating, she is taking this year off from being a participant so she can help the league with their administrative tasks. The women on The Renegade League are committed to fundraising.

When Olson does skate, she says it makes her feel beautiful, athletic, and empowered.

"It's wonderful to hear the fans scream when you give your all, and to hear your name announced," says Olson.

As a child, Olson skated and even joined a speed skating team, so she was always aware that roller derby existed. But it wasn't until she was inspired by a program on the A&E channel that she decided to take action and bring the sport to Bend.

"Roller derby really appealed to me," says Olson. "I've found that it helps my health — my pulse measures a healthy rate when I skate and my legs are much stronger than they used to be."

heather larson Lisa Kellstrom, aka Rusty Needles
At the age of 30, Lisa Kellstrom is one of the younger roller derby skaters. She's a mother of a six year old and works as a problem solver at Cascade Healthcare Community. She formerly worked as a phlebotomist who drew blood every day, hence her derby name, "Rusty Needles."

"I've always been very athletic and competitive; I roller skated and figure skated as a child," says Kellstrom. "When a friend told me about the roller derby league, the thought of participating scared me, so I knew I had to do it."

Kellstrom has now been derby skating for four years. She plays jammer and blocker.

"I love blocking because it's more contact," says Kellstrom. "This is the best adrenaline rush I've ever felt. I like to showboat during games to either get the crowd to love me or hate me and I like it when the fans feel I've entertained them."

If you're tempted to check out the roller derby in Bend, Kellstrom promises that she and her fellow skaters can teach you to skate and even help bring out your aggressive side.

"Women have an aggressive side, a seed of pent-up energy, and for them roller derby is an amazing way to let it out and learn about yourself," says Kellstrom. "It's fun. We've taught people who couldn't even stand up on skates and taken them to bouting (a team vs. team competition)."

If you are interested in renewing your identity with the New Year, consider joining one of Bend's roller derby leagues.

For more information on the Renegades who play "no holds barred roller derby," visit www.renegadesor.com, or contact Malice at maliceminx13@yahoo.com or (541) 633-0044.

For more information on the Lava City Roller Dolls, who play under stricter guidelines and rules, visit www.lavacityrollerdolls.com or contact Terese, aka Mean Satine, the Fresh Meat Coordinator, at sshinemoon@gmail.com.


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