True winners are successful on and off the track and earlier this month City Council recognized the efforts made by Madison’s women’s roller derby league for its consistent contributions to the local community.
The Council recognized the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, the city’s female roller derby league, as it comes up on its 10-year anniversary next week. The city also officially dubbed Dec. 7, the season opener for the league, Mad Rollin’ Dolls Roller Derby Day.
Competitors in the derby league are referred to by their skater names. “Slayhound,” of the Quad Squad Team, reflected on the progress the league has made since its inaugural season almost a decade ago.
“We had our first bout in 2004 with just two teams and a small crowd, which is much different from where we are now,” Slayhound said. “Now we have eight home teams, three travel teams and a huge volunteer crew, so we have expanded greatly in the past 10 years.”
Slayhound said the rising success of the league itself was directly linked to the growth of its volunteer group, which has stayed consistently involved in the community and participated in charity events such as stuffing Thanksgiving baskets for the Goodman Community Center.
“Mouse,” a star skater for the Reservoir Dolls team and one of the founders of the league, said they are glad to give back to a community that has helped them expand past just a small group of skaters. Mouse, Slayhound and the entire league were also very grateful for the recognition given by the City Council for the partnerships they have made to help support the city.
“It was a huge honor and definitely a long time coming to be part of an organization so well ingrained in the community,” Mouse said.
In addition to their services to charity, Mouse said she was proud of the Mad Rollin’ Dolls as a whole for continuing to grow without losing its traditional identity, which is defined by an independent “do-it-yourself” mentality.
Although the club has had sponsors over the years to help it stay successful, Mouse emphasized how the league has kept its dignity and never lost sight of its roots.
“We still have all the control over how the game is played, how the rules are developed and voted on, and how exactly we want roller derby to be presented to the community,” Mouse said.
Mouse said she hopes the growing popularity of Roller Derby will serve as an inspiration to all women and inspire those who may have “written-off sports to try another athletic endeavor.”
One of the unique aspects of Roller Derby, Mouse said, was the fact that having wheels provides all types of women an opportunity to compete, even those without athletic builds.
Slayhound said the recreational league offered by Mad Rollin’ Dolls is a good opportunity for new and inexperienced skaters to grow as athletes and get involved in the community. The league currently has around 120 skaters and is continuing to grow, Slayhound said.