Local teen named to national roller derby team
by Jess Berry
Nov 19, 2014 | 3234 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite a resurgence over the past decade, for many roller derby is a total mystery or a passing fad of the 1970s. But for 17-year-old Maureen Macintosh, a local Woodhaven resident, roller derby is her life.

Macintosh has been roller skating since the age of three, and a little over two years ago, she started training with the Gotham Girls Roller Derby Team in Brooklyn, which also happens to be one of the best adult roller derby teams in the world.

At the time, the Gotham Girls did not have a junior team. Macintosh quickly changed that, helping found the Gotham Girls Junior Roller Derby team.

Since then, she has been honing her skills and training on and off skates, all of which paid off earlier this month when she was one of 60 derby players across the country to be named to the Junior Roller Derby Team USA.

“It’s been absolutely surreal,” Macintosh said of the selection. “It’s such a good way for me to be able to recognize all of the work that I’ve been putting in.”

Over 300 kids nationwide tried out for the team, which will compete in the Junior World Cup next July.

When asked to explain the game, Macintosh said roller derby is “like football or rugby on skates, except you don’t have a ball and you get to hit people a lot harder.”

Essentially, two teams of five take the rink. On each team are four blockers and one jammer. The jammer’s job is to pass blockers and score points for each person they pass, while it is a blocker’s job to stop the jammers from getting by.

Macintosh and her Gotham Girl teammates practice three times a week for two to three hours, and often have to travel far away to find teams to compete against.

All of that time together and hard work has meant that, besides becoming a top athlete in the country, Macintosh has also developed many meaningful relationships through the sport.

Macintosh’s mother, Nellie, has nothing but good things to say about her daughter’s experiences with roller derby.

“It’s been nothing but an awesome experience,” she said. “If you talk to other roller derby girls, everybody says how roller derby changed their life. And I definitely feel it’s been nothing but positive for her.”

Her daughter agreed, saying that the roller derby community is “a big family” filled with people that she otherwise never would have met.

“Even with strangers, you feel like you know them because you have this passion for one thing and it unites people so much,” she said. “The girls and guys that I’ve met through roller derby are going to be my lifelong friends, and it’s so great to be able to work with them. And that’s why I’m so excited to be on team USA, because now I get to meet people from all over the world.”

Though all of the details have not been set, as this is the first-ever Junior Roller Derby World Cup, the competition will likely take place on the west coast in July. Teams will be co-ed, and about six countries have already committed to coming, including Australia and England.

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