Home at last: Kannapolis Rollergirls host first home bout after two years of play
The Kannpolis Rollergirls beat the Camel City Thrashers handily in their first home bout last Sunday, but the victory was just the icing on the cake.
“We are a great team whether we win or lose because of the strength we have between the team,” said team member Leila Faries.
Although she admits it might sound sappy, team captain Lauren Brown said the team is “one big, crazy, dysfunctional happy family.”
“These are some of my best friends in the world that I get to go kick butt with on the track,” she said.
The 16-woman team bonds during practice sessions three times a week where they skate, run, jump and do sit-ups.
Brown said there is no specific definition of a rollergirl — anyone can do it.
“That’s another thing that makes this sport so great is that there are so many different types of women on our team or all different ages,” she said. “You’ll see some with tattoos and piercings and crazy colored hair and then you’ll see our school teachers and nurses who don’t fit that ‘derby girl mold.’
“It’s strong women, who under normal circumstances would probably never run into each other, coming together, working out butts off and just doing something we have all grown to love so much.”
Since the Kannapolis Rollergirls formed in July 2011, the ladies have spent the past two years preparing for their first home bout, which was held at the Cabarrus Arena.
“I’ve played in multiple away bouts and they have all been cool, but this was different, it was special,” team member Nikki Burris said. “I’m blown away by how good it felt.
“This experience truly completed the whole package, we were successful at what we set out to do in 2011 when we hardly knew the game or where to get started.”
Now, the team is hungry for more.
“We want to hear our crowd and fans erupt again and give them what they came to see,” she said.
Faries said the event went better than the women ever expected with a large crowd showing up to cheer them on.
“The first home bout was great,” she said. “We have been training for almost two years before this could even happen, our team has evolved so much.”
Brown said she’s glad the team finally got to show their hometown who they are and what they love.
“We got to the arena early … to start setting up and the excitement was radiating throughout the entire place from all the skaters,” she said. “We didn’t know how many people would actually show up, this being our first ever big hometown event, so that made the nervous kinda creep up on us.
“When we came out to do our introductions and saw the arena was packed full of fans I think we were all taken back and intimidated a little.”
The ladies continue to get stronger and faster, while keeping safety in mind, Faries said.
“Learning the rules and strategic moves are never ending, pushing all of us to skate smart,” she said.
Brown decided to try roller derby almost two years ago when a friend suggested it. After her pal bailed on their plan, she went anyway.
“For me now roller derby is a part of my life, its what I think about and talk about, especially being a captain and a member of the training committee,” she said. “I’m always coming up with new ideas and planning practices as well as going online and just watching videos of skills and drills.”
Brown said she likes the workout she gets from derby and the self-confidence boost it’s given her.
“It has shown me that I can be a badass chic if I wanna be and I’m tougher than I thought,” she said. “It will really bring you out of your shell and you’ll just have so much fun with an amazing group of women.”
The women will be competing in at least one bout a month for the rest of the year. Their next home bout is scheduled for Oct. 19 versus the Smokey Mountain Rollergirls.
Find out more about the Kannapolis Rollergirls by visiting their website at www.kannapolisrollergirls.com
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.