Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls Serve Up The Hits
On Saturdays they get all dolled up.
And for good reason.
Members of the Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls Roller Derby Team are waiting for their chances to be competitive and let out their frustrations.
In other words, they can’t wait to knock people around.
Team founder and member Amylynn Delgado will be the first person to agree.
“I originally was a competitive mountain bike racer, and a girlfriend of mine in Knoxville, Tenn., said she was going out to look at this full-contact female sport called roller derby in 2006.”
Delgado did not believe her friend, but “went to one practice and fell in love with it, stopped racing and started skating,” she said.
Delgado said there is a competitive outlet that gets fulfilled. “I love the competitive outlet of it. What I love most is that what we create is created by the ladies and men of the team.” The men, she said, are referees and volunteers.
Delgado, who skates as a jammer, loves her position. “The jammer is a point scorer for the team,” Delgado said. She added that a jammer is a skater who’s nimble, who’s quick-footed and who’s usually faster. “We (jammers) would be more like the receivers on a football team vs. the linemen. The blockers are more like the linemen,” she said.
Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls (WWD) team is a member-operated all-women’s roller derby league in Western Pennsylvania. The Warren, Pa.-based team plays competitive roller derby under the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) guidelines. It was formed in 2015, and the team began the first season of competitive play in 2016.
According to The Women’s Flat Track Association, wftda.com, the game of Flat Track Roller Derby is played on a flat, oval track. Play is broken up into two 30-minute periods, and within those periods, into units of play called jams, which last up to two minutes. There are 30 seconds between each jam.
During a jam, each team fields up to five skaters. Four of these skaters are called blockers (together, the blockers are called the pack), and one is called a jammer. The jammer wears a helmet cover with a star on it.
The two jammers start each jam behind the pack, and score a point for every opposing blocker they lap, each lap. Because they start behind the pack, they must get through the pack, then all the way around the track to be eligible to score points on opposing blockers, the site revealed.
Roller derby is a full-contact sport, and skaters cannot use their heads, elbows, forearms, hands, knees, lower legs or feet to make contact to opponents. Also, skaters cannot make contact to opponents’ heads, backs, knees, lower legs or feet.
Play that is unsafe or illegal may result in a skater being assessed a penalty, which is served by sitting in the penalty box for 30 seconds of jam time.
The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Knowing that an injury is possible, Delgado still is eager to skate. “You can’t play (skate) scared. It’s just part of it. You just know it’s (possibility of getting injured) going to happen,” Delgado said.
The team holds practice on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8-10 a.m. at Russell Roller Rink in Russell, Pa.
“We practice two days a week,” she said.
The practices are organized practices which means the women are focused and are doing very specific team-oriented skills. At the beginning of practice, the women exercise together as a team.
The members all have alter egos or team names. Because it’s a word play on her name, Delgado bills herself as Goblynn. She puts on white and black makeup and sports a new persona.
“I think it represents the person inside me that I can never be. Normally I am really sweet and nice, and I get the opportunity to be a little nasty. I am very much a sports person, so I would never do anything crooked,” she said.
Originally when she was skating in 2006, she was a police officer and did undercover work in Knoxville, Tenn. “I was doing narcotics stuff, and because the crowds down there are larger. I didn’t want my identity to be shown, so that’s where the original face came from,” the jammer said.
When she was trying to come up with a name for her alter ego, she didn’t choose what could be referred to as a pretty girl persona. “That (pretty girl persona) is not my style and I wanted something more warrior-like. I wanted something that I would not get to do any other time. I can put on makeup and look like a fancy girl if I ever need to, but I never get a chance to dress like a clown,” she added.
And she’s not afraid to wear it outside the competitive venue. “When I first started doing it, it took me about a half hour (to put on). Now it takes about 15 minutes. I usually drive with it on and I leave the house with my full persona.”
The team’s home events are held at Allen Park Ice Arena on Saturdays at 6 p.m. The team has three more home events: June 22, July 13, and Aug. 3.
Some people, Delgado said, have a misconception of the team, and that people need to see the camaraderie. “We are working women and men. There are lawyers, doctors, police officers, nurses, and EMTs. We’re all normal people. We have ladies that work second shift and we have ladies that work night shift, and they make it (being a team member) work. They are dedicated. Without the work the ladies put in, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Delgado said.