The Capital City Crushers were formed by several local women in July 2007 as a revived interest in the sport of Roller Derby, which has roots that can be traced back to the 1930s. When approached with the idea of a Derby team,Tina Robertson, owner of the Sk8away skating rink, agreed to make her facility the teams’ home and assisted with the start up. In the summer of 2011, The Chick Whips junior league was formed out of a summer skating boot camp.
The concept or object of the derby consists of two bouts, which are two 30-minute periods. These are broken up into jams, which last up to two minutes with a 30-second break between jams. There are five women in a jam from each team: one pivot with a striped helmet cover, three blockers, and one jammer with a starred helmet cover. The pivot is a blocker at the lead. She may be designated as a jammer during a jam, and plans team strategy during play.
The blockers in mid-position assist their jammer through the pack and block the opposing jammer from passing. The jammer scores team points by lapping opposing team members, and may transfer her position to the pivot by switching helmet covers. At the whistle blow, the two opposing jammers skate through the pack fighting to be the lead jammer. Although no points are scored here, on subsequent passes, points are scored for the number of blockers passed by the jammer. Play ends with four whistle blows or by the lead jammer before the two minutes by placing her hands on her hips repeatedly.
The Crushers and Whips are always recruiting girls and women to participate. Open recruitments take place from 8 to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Any woman that is interested in becoming a Crusher or girl that is interested in becoming a Whip are encouraged to try out. Even men can join as referees or non skating officials, like timekeepers and penalty box monitors. Requirements for the Crushers are age 18 with current health coverage, for the Whips ages 10-17 may join. Best of all, no skate experience is required, they have a “newbie” coach on staff to train the girls and women to pass WFTDA skills testing.
Newbie coach, Cindy Carbone, “Dis’basher- # 911” (who is a graduate student in Criminal Justice), discussed how she spends about 90 days working with new recruits, preparing them for their skills, testing and then joining the team to compete. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association sets national skills and standards for each member and league to follow, the most rigorous is being able to skate 27 laps in five minutes, approximately nine seconds a lap. Safety is important and practice gear is provided for those interested in trying out.
A newbie of two months to the team, Skylar Gott, “Side Effect” #150mg, stated that all her teammates were really supportive of her. “For any girls or women interested in joining,” said Gott, “it takes dedication and no fear of falling down and to have a winning attitude.”
Head Coach of The Capital City Crushers, Caitlyn Yoho, “Seam Rip-Her” #34 (freshman Biology major), was generous in taking a few minutes to interview while she was calling out practice drills. Along with the history and objective of play, Yoho said that the selection of names were in relation to the individual likes, interests, or alter self. She is a seamstress by trade as well as a student, hence the name Seam Rip-Her.
Their Double header is June 29th at 7p.m. Follow the Crushers and Whips on Facebook and Twitter as well as their homepage at www.capitalcitycrushers.net. Sk8away is located at 815 SW Fairlawn Road in Topeka, Kan.