Mobile’s Derby Darlings act as “positive role models for women” in the city’s only all-female, skater-operated roller derby team.
When many people hear the term “roller derby,” they may think about Raquel Welch in the 1972 movie “Kansas City Bomber” or the scripted TV storylines in the 1990s that were more style than skill.
However, that is certainly not the case along the Alabama Gulf Coast. The sport has been well established here for quite some time.
“Mobile’s Derby Darlings (MDD) was started in 2011, but roller derby has been in Mobile for even longer than that,” said club president Shannon Poiroux, who goes by the derby name Kraken Skullz. “The MDD stands as Mobile’s only all-female, skater-operated roller derby team committed to athleticism and sportswomanship, raising awareness about and furthering the sport of roller derby. The team is composed of strong, diverse and independent women from different locations and of varying skill levels.”
For those not familiar with roller derby, it is a contact sport played by two teams consisting of five players. They skate counter-clockwise around a track to score points. The teams play offense and defense at the same time.
“Watching a game for the first time is totally confusing,” Poiroux said. “So we usually include the rules in our programs, but even then it is just chaos. But it is very exciting to watch and even more exciting to play.”
The Mobile squad is a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. The international governing body of women’s flat track roller derby represents more than 450 member and apprentice leagues on six continents.
“The MDD is committed to developing athletes, promoting the physical and mental strength and independent spirit of amateur female athletes, while competing in interleague bouting,” Poiroux said. “In doing so, they believe all people are equal and important and should be treated as such.”
Poiroux said her skaters work tirelessly on and off the track to represent the team, whether at home or on the road. They also made their presence known by skating in several Carnival parades.
“They demonstrate positive role models for women and act as contributing members of their local community, volunteering and fundraising,” Poiroux said, “while displaying values such as empowerment, friendship, discipline, pride, dedication, a ‘for the skater, by the skater’ philosophy and competing at the highest levels of gameplay throughout the league.”
The MDD season began in March and runs until October. They have about one game a month. The team has been practicing at Dreamland Skate Center on Three Notch Road in Tillman’s Corner.
“We will be having a mash-up at the Bayou La Batre Community Center (12745 Padgett Switch Rd.) on Saturday, April 27,” Poiroux said. “A mash-up is where we invite players from all the teams close enough to come play. Everyone that signs up gets split into two teams to play against each other. So we end up playing our own team members.
“We usually do a newbie game and a vet game. We do this for our newbie skaters so they get a chance to play with skaters that have the same skill level.”
Most roller derby players skate under pseudonyms or derby names. The word play often has satirical meanings.
The MDD coaches are Evander Rollyfield (Evan Elliott) and Vic Da’Miser (Vic Dunn). Other Derby Darlings with Poiroux are Toxic Skittlez (Jennifer Seale), KillHer Shark (Felicia Elliott), Tornado Allie (Allie Schultze), Rose the Rib Breaker (Christina Judy), Patty Whack (Patty Sebert), Gritty-N-Pink (Amatullah Mustafa), Rae-Beez (Rachel Gulbrandsen) and Sock Her Mom (Becky Edwards Winstead).
The new players who have joined the MDD but are not yet cleared to play are Lady McDeath (Jestina Willis), T-Wrexxx (Theresa Enfinger), Arts-N-Crash (Becca Fortin), B-Wreck (Rebecca Schroeder), AlloyKat (Katherine Steel), LookOut (Libby Rodriquez), Scary Godmother (Hannah Fellows), Jabb Her Wocky (Mandee Rice), Chelsea Adams and Daisy Grant.
“The MDD is committed to growing roller derby as a competitive sport,” Poiroux said, “through generating competent skaters and inspiring strength, confidence, camaraderie, independence and acceptance, regardless of skill level, race or gender identity or expression, while maintaining a positive standing within the community.”
Other matches on the MDD schedule are a double-header in Milton, Florida, on May 18; a bout in Miami on June 15; a trip to Dothan on August 8; and a match against the Gulf Coast Roller Girls in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on September 21.
More information on the team can be found at facebook.com/mobilesderbydarlings.
Saban returns for charity event
The Mobile-based Team Focus is marking its 12th year of hosting its annual fundraiser event, A Night with Nick Saban, on Wednesday, May 8, at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel.
The evening will include a silent auction featuring signed sports memorabilia. Team Focus founder Mike Gottfried will speak and introduce the University of Alabama head football coach.
Local sports legend Scott Hunter will be honored as the 2019 Champion of Life. A star quarterback at Vigor High School, Hunter played for the Crimson Tide, where he set numerous passing records under Coach Bear Bryant. After playing in the NFL, he spent many years as a sports reporter for WKRG-TV.
“Our honoring of Scott Hunter is long overdue,” Gottfried sid. “We are recognizing him as a Champion of Life for all he has done in the community and for Alabama football.”
This annual event is the sole fundraiser for the nonprofit Team Focus. It will begin with a silent auction at 5:45 p.m., with dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $100. A table for 10 is $1,000. Sponsorships are available starting at $6,000.
To purchase tickets, and to learn more about sponsorship opportunities at the event, contact the Team Focus office at 251-635-1515 or visit teamfocususa.org.
According to the event organizers, Team Focus is rooted in utilizing leadership skills, Christian values, guidance and continual relationships to reach young men ages 10 to 18 who lack a father figure in their lives. Gottfried and his wife, Mickey, founded Team Focus in 2000. Based in Mobile, Team Focus has six chapters located across the United States. Since its inception, the organization has impacted the lives of more than 4,000 young men throughout the country.
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