When Jen Casey of Monroe decided to try out for the Rat City Roller Girls, an injury kept her out of the sport.
But not her daughters. Yes, there is roller derby for kids, and it’s not just for girls anymore. Rebecca and Loryn Casey, 14 and 16, play co-ed roller derby with the Mob City Misfits in Everett, and they love every bruise.
Rebecca Casey is not imposing upon meeting her; she’s rather petite. But she’s been playing the rough, physical sport of roller derby for the last five years, since she was just 11.
She got interested the same time her mom did, but while an injury during training kept her mom out of the game, Rebecca found she had a talent for it.
So her accommodating parents drove her twice weekly from Monroe to a Ballard gym called the “Rat’s Nest” to train as a Derby Brat, a junior team to the Rat City Roller Girls and taking the derby name of “Lip Smack-Her,” a play on the popular chap stick brand.
“The floor was uneven and the sport court was so dirty I don’t think it had ever been cleaned,” said Rebecca. “But it worked.”
Soon, her younger sister Loryn got involved, and the eventually joined the co-ed team the Mob City Misfits, based in Everett, for kids ages 9-17.
Loryn previously had been a figure skater, so she took he derby name of Go Figure when she joined.
Now the two make a formidable pair.
Roller derby is the very definition of a full contact sport. A pack consists of three blockers, a pivot and a jammer. Each team send a pack onto the oval, and the melee begins. The object of the game is to get the jammer past as many opponents as possible. That means the jammers have to plow, weave or otherwise work through a crowd several time as defenders try to hold off the other team’s blockers, even by pushing them off the oval.
Use of hands or legs to push another player is against the rules, but shoving with hips or shoulders is just fine.
Rebecca can play all three positions, but as a jammer she’s agile, relying on footwork to get past opponents. Loryn, on the other hand, simply plows straight through.
“Rebecca’s goal is to get through with no on touching her,” said their dad David. “Loryn’s is to blow through everyone.”
The addition of boys to the teams has added an even more rigorous element, the girls agreed. At first, the girls dominated as the boys learned the sport. But now the guys are getting good on their skates, and are becoming a challenge.
“A guy’s center of balance is higher,” said Rebecca. “It takes a lot of learning to figure out how to hit a guy.”
When the girls discuss their injuries, they light up with in glee.
“I have permanently sprained wrists and thumbs, and my nose clicks every time I touch it,” said Rebecca.
“I hurt my back and was out for two weeks,” said Loryn.
And Rebecca wound up with a concussion in a recent bout.
Do their parents worry?
“The concussion was a bit worrisome,” said David.
But the girls find it all a positive experience, frequently holding bouts to raise funds for causes such as Oso relief.
And the players are like family, they added.
“There are a lot of backgrounds but we have this thing in common, and it’s enough to form bonds,” said Rebecca, who at 16 is graduating this year with not only her diploma but her college associate’s degree. “It’s the best sportsmanship I’ve seen in sports.”