When you think of Women’s Roller Derby, what is the first things that come to mind? Blood, sweat, tears, bruises, broken bones, rink rash, and a bunch of butch burly girls? Obviously you have never met the Dames!
The resurrection of roller derby had crash landed on the island of Okinawa, Japan in the form of The Devil Dog Derby Dames (or D4); a group that has evolved immensely since its establishment in 2010. With four inner league teams now compressed into two bands of brutally bouting babes: The All-Stars and The Home Team. With a very “Varsity vs. JV” mindset, the All Star Dames train and practice with the Home Team ladies to birth a new hybrid; a one of a kind derby girl, to each and every skater. The league has maintained their Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Certification; this allows them to travel internationally and compete with the best in the business, giving players the opportunity to broaden their horizons and do what they love: Play Roller Derby!
There is something intimidating about the tattoo goddesses stacked up on quads and fully fit with pads and a helmet, but our league learns from the best of intimidators. Most of the women in this league are dependent military spouses, or active duty themselves, the support from our family plays a huge roll in how active we are as a league. Drill Sergeant coaches (literally) and the kiddos cheering us on in the stands is the outrageous pouring of support, as well as building up our fellow Dames to together grow and keep constant improvement.
D4 does a fantastic job branching out and trying to recruit fresh faces into our league, the roller derby force is strong in Okinawa, from standing in front of the BX for hours, or setting up a booth at big military events to help put word out there about this amazing group of people. The Dames make it easy, with new start dates for fresh meat rookies to join the league every month. To providing loaner gear and knowledge on the sport that newbs may know nothing about, The Dog Pound Program teaches everything that you could possibly need to know about flat track roller derby, being a Dame, and taking care of each other.
One of the biggest shockers to all of the new comers and the fans in the audience, is how much we truly love each other. What happens on the track stays on the track, and no skaters harbor bad blood to another. Outside of the gym we have family dinners and bowling nights, our kids are best friends, and we are all ultimately a big family, something that is not taken for granted when you are overseas and establishing your home away from home. We take care of each other, we stay on each other’s toes, and we make sure that you feel welcome without judgement, because we all have been there.