Chattanooga Roller Derby hits the Convention Center Saturday
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The blockers, the jammers, the hits — Chattanooga Roller Derby is back in the Chattanooga Convention Center this Saturday for the first time since the pandemic.
“Oh, man. It is so exciting,” Kim Stovall said. “We have been building in this off-season since we have been able to come back, and we are ready to show the community, ‘Hey, we’re here. We are strong athletes,’ and we are excited to share all of our progress with everyone.”
“The hits are real! You know, there’s not the stereotypical elbows to the face and that kind of stuff, but it’s full contact, all pads. We wear mouth guards. We are absolutely hitting, and people are falling down. It’s definitely intense,” Macy Licht said.
Intense on the track, yes. But off the track….
“We’re so nice!” Shay Luke said. “Everybody says that we’re so nice!”
“We are the nice team. Like we want to be that. We want to be classy. We want to have fun, and we want everyone to have fun with us,” Stovall said.
“These guys are my family,” Licht said. “We’re super close, and coming together and playing a sport that we’re all completely in love with with your best friends, I mean, there’s nothing like it.”
Roller derby has yet to break into the Olympics, but not without serious considerations in the last ten years.
“To have that kind of recognition in making derby more of an every day sport I think is so great, especially for people growing up that want to play the sport,” Stovall said. “I think one of the reasons that derby isn’t as well known is because so many people didn’t see it growing up. You played baseball. You played football, but now there’s this opportunity to play a new sport, and the more you can see it in regular ways, the more people are going to play it.”
Chattanooga’s team hosts their first bout in three years Saturday when Panhandle United comes to the Chattanooga Convention Center.
“I think it’s going to feel really emotional,” Licht said. “I mean, we love the Convention Center. We’ve skated their forever, and coming back to our fans and our home crowd, there’s nothing like it. We’re so excited.”