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are you tough enough?

Roller derby might seem like a dangerous sport, but it’s nothing compared to the after parties. With a torn ACL sustained after a bout, Lilac City Rollergirl Perla “Euthanizer Bunny” Hernandez is limping proof that some of the worst injuries are sustained outside of the rink. Beyond the usual case of rink rash there is an occasional broken rib, but ask the strong-willed women in Spokane’s only roller derby league and most will tell you it’s worth the wear. And Spokane’s Lilac City Rollergirls is made up of all different types of personalities. “You would think of Rollergirls as having tattoos and looking all crazy but really it takes all types. Some are doctors. Some are quiet, shy girls, some are people with no tattoos,” said the Lilac City Rollergirls outgoing president, Naomi Weitz, who also is a mental health therapist. “You just have to be willing to get knocked on your butt and get back up and keep going.” The Lilac City Rollergirls has taken its share of lumps over the last couple of years. It’s been an ongoing struggle to find venues to host bouts and practices, and membership has been a constant ebb and flow with a large amount of ladies leaving recently due to injuries, pregnancies and relocating out of Spokane. While the Rollergirls have landed stable venues such as Coeur d’Alene Casino and the Spokane Convention Center – where Saturday’s season finale bout takes place – the league’s roster is relatively low. There are currently about 25 active players, when the league has peaked at about 40 skaters in the past. The numbers aren’t has high as she’d like in Spokane, but Weitz said roller derby is steadily growing around the Northwest. “Washington state has more derby leagues than any other state, especially on the other side of the Cascades – there are a ton of leagues. They’re popping up all the time. In fact the Northwest has its own style of derby. Nationally it’s known as ‘fast and hard,’ ” said Weitz, aka Sweetart. “There is a huge derby sisterhood with leagues encouraging each other and giving each other advice.” The same way injuries happen out the rink, skating is ever present in the lives of the ladies who do get down and dirty with roller derby. “More people know me by Sweetart then Naomi,” Weitz said. “Sometimes I forget the girls’ names in the league. I went to write a check to a girl and I wrote out her derby name. And she’s like, ‘My bank is not going to take that.’ ”


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