LEWISTON — The third birthday of the Androscoggin Fallen Angels roller derby league was celebrated Saturday with a “slam-i-versary,” featuring an epic match between the AFA’s Inferno and the Central Maine Derby’s Northwood Knockouts at the Lewiston Armory.
The Knockouts won the match by a score of 281-198.
Roller derby, a contact sport played on roller skates, consists of two five-person teams. Each team has a designated “jammer,” who scores points by getting past the opposing team’s “blockers.” The jammer wears a helmet cover with a star on it.
The blockers are the other four people on the team. One of those blockers is also the “pivot,” and can become the jammer if handed the starred helmet cover.
The jammer gets one point for each blocker she or he legally passes, while their teammates assist them in passing the other team and attempt to prevent the opposing jammer from passing them.
“It’s an incredible workout with fantastic women,” said Inferno teammate, Deb Fish, aka Fish-o-licious.
The air buzzed with excitement as the skaters took to the track, practicing maneuvers and warming up. The teamwork necessary for the sport was evident in their linked arms and coordinated moves.
In a show of sportsmanship, the teams high-fived each other as they rolled around the track during introductions, smiling and shouting words of encouragement to one another.
“I’ve never played a team sport before, and besides being able to push people and get my aggression out, I love how (the team) feels like a big family,” said Inferno member Lori Larsson, aka Sparks & Wreck.
Then with the blow of a whistle, 10 women were dashing around the track.
Like a congested roadway, the skaters of each team grouped together, while the jammers tried to get past the newly formed human barriers.
“I love how challenging it is. As soon as you think you’ve mastered something, there’s another thing to learn,” said Tania Carpentier, known by her fellow Infernos as Carpy Diem.
Yet even amid the chaos, the sportsmanship continued. Those who were pushed to the ground to prevent further gain were helped up by those who had pushed them, and smiles were exchanged.
In the spirit of the family-feel, onlookers discussed their plans for the holiday combination of Easter and April Fools’ Day.
The family of Inferno member Raeann Kane, or Rae Sin Kane, was there to support her, and spoke of their plans for the next day.
Kane’s daughter, Kensen, 7, of Oxford, had a special prank planned for her mother, who intends to bake a cake Sunday. Only when she opens the carton of eggs, she’ll find they’ve been replaced with bouncy balls.
Kane’s brother, Travis Verrill of Paris, was there with his son, Tucker, 4, and said they plan to celebrate Easter with a family dinner and a send-off for his nephew, who just joined the Army. Verrill said he did not have any desire to prank anyone.
“I’m always afraid of retaliation,” Verrill said. “I’m too old for that.”
Tucker, however, did not share his father’s fear but could not reveal his planned prank because “it’s supposed to be a surprise.”