George BensonTuesday, March 14, 2023
Acta Diurna sports reporter George Benson interviewed science teacher Julie Camp and long-term substitute Chelsea Caraway, who skate with Birmingham's Tragic City Rollers, to learn about the sport and get their roller derby stories.
Benson: First, for anyone who does not know about the sport, what is roller derby?
Camp: It’s a contact sport on wheels. It’s also a team sport. You wear quad skates. It is traditionally a women’s contact sport too, and I think it is cool that it is really inclusive also. It’s not like basketball, where if you want to talk about women’s basketball you have to say "women’s" first. You have to say "men’s" in front of "men’s roller derby," so that’s cool.
How did you find yourselves playing the sport? Who introduced you to it?
Caraway: I found it while I was out with my nieces. Someone came up to me during a chili cookoff and handed me a flyer and said I would be perfect for roller derby. But before that I had really no idea what it was. After a month or so I stopped by and ended up really liking it after I tried it out. I found that it’s not only a sport, but it’s a tight-knit community of people.
Camp: I was a fan for a couple of years first ... I just stumbled across it and went to [an event] and thought it was cool. I said to myself, "one day I’ll pick this up," and then I just happened to meet someone who used to play in a different state. She had just moved here, we became pals, and she said, "I am going to join it, you should join with me," and so I did.
How long have you been playing?
Caraway: This season would be my third season actually playing.
Camp: I’ve really only played two full seasons with TCR.
Ms. Camp, you have the roller-derby nickname “Bone Salad.” Would you care to explain how you came to be called that?
Camp: Oh man, it’s just a silly name. A lot of derby names play off things that people like, but I already had a friend who had given me this nickname. When I was picking mine, it was easy to fall back on a name that I already had. You get to pick your number as well, and mine is 206 because that is the number of bones in a human body.
Above, a Tragic City Rollers recruitment photo featuring Bone Salad (aka Ms. Camp).
Ms. Caraway, you have the nickname “Jukes of Hazard.” Would you explain that one?
Caraway: Mine was kind of given to me because when I started, I had previously come from ice hockey, so I had an idea of how to skate, but I wasn’t really sure how quad skates work. It was hard to retrain a lot of my muscle memory, so I was a hazard out on the track. I struggled with stopping for a long time, so my coach said, "You know what? We should call you Jukes of Hazzard," and that is how it came to be.
Faculty recently attended a bout to support Bone Salad and Jukes of Hazard, who supplied staff with this video, which explains the rules. The next home bout is scheduled for April 22 in Boutwell Auditorium. For the full schedule, click here. Check the roster below.
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