Philly Roller Girls: The Liberty Belles

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Philly Roller Girls: The Liberty Belles at the 2008 Nationals. (Front Row L-R) Violet Temper, Teflon Donna, Annie Christ, Olivia Face, Euro Thrash, Mo Pain (Rear L-R) Robin Drugstores, Persephone, Shenita Stretcher, Dotti Horror, Dara Licks, Nina Knockout, Ivana Rock, Ginger Vitis
Philly Roller Girls: The Liberty Belles
By Switchblade Siouxsie
Photos by Akira Takahashi
Posted Aug 06, 2009
What is the current roster and positions?

Well, the Liberty Belles roster changes almost every bout, depending upon who is available to travel and who has the skills necessary to best compete against the type of team we are going up against. For one of our most recent bouts, the roster included:

Mo Pain: pivot, jammer
Violet Temper: B3
Olivia Face: B2
Robin Drugstores: B3
Shenita Stretcher: B3, pivot, jammer
Teflon Donna: B2, jammer
Nina Knockout: B1
Heavy Flo: B1
Elle Viento: pivot, jammer
Ginger Vitis: B2
Gloria Grindem: pivot, jammer
Ivana Rock: B2
Persephone: B3, jammer
Dara Licks: pivot, B1

Is this a collection of all stars from the home teams or is it a separate entity?

Everyone on the travel team also plays on a home team: The Philthy Britches, Broad Street Butchers, or Heavy Metal Hookers. As a league, we feel that this is the best method of training for all of our skaters. We’re constantly challenging ourselves by playing against one another.



How do you keep the mentality focused, and the teamwork at the forefront?

One way we handle this is by modifying our schedule. Our travel season begins after our home season ends. We have home team bouts from approximately March through May, and travel team bouts begin in June with the East Coast Derby Extravaganza! But we practice as a travel team all year round. There is definitely competition during the home season, but I don’t think it ever reaches the point that it affects travel team practice. We look at home team rivalries as something fun that keeps our Philly fans interested. I think everyone who is at the skill level to be on the Liberty Belles is able to put that stuff aside to focus on what we need to do be national champions.

How are you feeling about the upcoming tournaments?

I am incredibly excited! The Liberty Belles have had an amazing season so far. We have been really focusing on our teamwork and strategy, which is what it takes to win championships. All of our skaters understand that we can’t rely on our skills as individuals to win games against the tough opponents we’re going to face at Regionals and Nationals.

Also, Philly is hosting Nationals this year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and we’re thrilled to working with such a professional, well-known venue. I can’t wait to see thousands of derby girls, officials, and fans descend on center city Philadelphia!



As one of the top teams in the country, what is it you think the Philly Roller Girls do differently that makes you so successful?

This is a hard question, because I believe that the top teams in the nation have skills that are equal to ours. I know they are all training just as hard and practicing just as often. The only thing that may be unique with this years’ Belles is the wonderful connection and vibe we have going. Every member of this team is so supportive, positive, and hardworking. We are all on the same page as far as where we are, what our goals are, and what steps we need to take to get there. In addition to our regular practice schedule, we get together as a team and review bout videos and talk strategy. There’s a level of focus that I’ve never seen before in any organization I’ve been a part of. But don’t get the idea that we’re serious about it all the time! In fact, part of our vibe is the need to have fun. We watch falls in slow motion and crack ourselves up. And it seems to be a requirement that we have a dance party on the track or the bench at least once per bout!

What is your regular training regimen?

All travel team skaters are required to make nine practices per month, including at least three out of four dedicated travel team practices. We do at least a half an hour of endurance training per practice, and once a week we do a full hour. Sundays are our dedicated scrimmage practice where we just play against each other for two hours. Monday nights we have an hour of travel team practice. In addition to all this, some of the skaters have their own workout routines. Violet Temper is always at the gym, and I know Elle Viento has been doing some crazy workout lately. Personally, I try to do at least one non-derby workout per week like running, pilates, yoga, or cycling.



I know our team has many discussions about the level of fitness versus game play. But there’s also the idea that a thick blocker can be more useful. What’s your opinion?

One of the great things about roller derby is that all shapes and sizes are needed on the track. I believe that any body type can be physically fit and able to keep up with the fastest, most hard-hitting derby play. I understand that not all players will be speed demons, but we have minimum speed and endurance requirements for all travel team skaters. Girls who have some weight to them are great at those lay-out hits, but if they can’t keep up with the pack, they aren’t going to be effective. Look at Nina Knockout, one of our most amazing blockers. She makes incredible take-outs, but she is still able to quickly re-engage and get to the front of the pack to do it again!

What would your advice be to teams trying to come up in the rankings?

Increase your practice intensity and variety. This is something Philly has always done well and it has taken us far. I’m a jammer, and I still feel like I want to vomit after our endurance practices are over. If the fastest, most physically fit girl on your team can do a practice with ease, it’s not hard enough! At the same time, there are obviously a variety of skills that you need to hone. If you have a heavy blocking practice one day, the next day work on something like agility or speed training. This is good for your muscles and your brains. Neither will get over-trained or bored if you mix it up!



What is your favorite thing about being a captain of this team?

Oh wow, I have to pick one thing? My favorite thing is that most of the time, I don’t even feel like a captain. Usually, you think of captains as the ones who are yelling and motivating, devising strategies and making lineups. But every member of this team takes ownership of it. During practices, you hear everyone pushing each other to work harder. The captains are always getting input from team members for things we need to work on. There are so many wonderful things about the Liberty Belles and I feel incredibly privileged to be one of its leaders.

Where would you like to see derby in five years?

My first reaction is always, “I want to see professional roller derby!” If I could get paid to do this sport, I would do it until my body falls apart. But at the same time, professionalizing a sport always brings another set of challenges and difficulties. So I’ll just say that I want to see derby continue to grow. Whether it becomes professional or remains an immensely popular amateur sport, I will be happy. I just want to see more leagues springing up all over the world with our DIY spirit!

Anything else you want our readers to know?


Watch out for the Liberty Belles this year! We have the skills, we’re working hard, and we are ready to be number one in the country!









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