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Five 40 Roller Girls hit the track against the Rocktown Rollers this weekend
Jenny McGuigan stretches before a practice Tuesday night.
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So consider the allure to be a sort of mature, sophisticated violence. For some women, it's an outlet they might have wanted, but never imagined they would have.
Amber Fua, a 21-year-old University of Mary Washington student, hopes to go by "Amberantula" when she gets on the team. She's only been skating for about a month, but will take part in the Five 40 Roller Girls' "Fresh Meat" clinic for rookies that starts Nov. 20. The program will prepare her for the skills test, which the Women's Flat Track Derby Association requires all skaters to pass before they can compete.
Before she's even an official member of the team, Fua knows she's in the right place.
"I'm excited to hit girls," she said.
But she's found the team to be more than a punching-bag workout. She said she was surprised at how friendly and supportive all of the Five 40 Roller Girls are.
"I don't have any chick friends," she said. "I think it's because I'm a little too aggressive. I have a lot of aggression, and this is really the place for it."
She's among like-minded women. Gena Womack is a sixth-grade English teacher at Rodney Thompson Middle School in Stafford County. She, like Fua, is a rookie gearing up for the "Fresh Meat" clinic. Even as a novice, she said she loves everything about roller derby.
"It makes you take risks," she said. "It's good to get that adrenaline feeling. It's good for you."
Womack thinks that experience is important enough to some women that roller derby is destined to grow in size and popularity. Indeed, for some of these women, roller derby seems like a necessity--not just exercise or a stress reliever or an opportunity to don a wild persona--but something vital to their very existence.
Or maybe it's a lot simpler than that.
"I get to hit people," said Valerie Reynolds, a stay-at-home mother. "I like hitting people. Especially after a hard day with the kids."
Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036
What: Thanks Beatings Roller Derby Bout, featuring Fredericksburg's Five 40 Roller Girls vs. the Rocktown Rollers from Harrisonburg Where: Rollerworks (formerly Hugo's), 12099 Marsh Road, Bealeton When: Saturday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the door Info: five40rg.com, rollerworks familyskating.com