Keeping up with East Texas’ roller derby team the Madams of Mayhem

Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 1:08 PM EST|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 12:11 PM EDT
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“Roller Derby is an extremely fast-paced, hard-hitting sport,” said Allison Preston, also known as Allie Get Her. “It takes a high level of athleticism to play, not to mention the demand on your body.”

Allison was the coach of the Madams of Mayhem Roller Derby Team. (When we originally did this story in March 2020, Preston was the coach. The current coach is Vixen.)

“The Madams of Mayhem is an East Texas team,” said Preston. “We have a lot of women, and men that come help our sport as well, from all over. We foster and empower women and men, and we’re all about teaching them what they can do with their own body and how they can feel empowered through what they’re capable of.”

What is Roller Derby?

“We call our games bouts and the objective is to score the most points,” said Preston. “Each team has a point scorer and she has to get past the opposing players to score points.”

It may sound pretty basic, but it’s not. Especially when you factor in how the two 30-minute halves are played entirely on skates.

“It’s definitely a full contact sport and we have minimal padding,” said Preston. “And there’s a lot that goes into [Roller Derby] in terms of teaching levels and positions.”

Like other sports, there are multiple people playing at a time including both offensive and defensive positions. And roller derby is meant for all skill levels, and all types of people.

“It’s an outlet for a lot of women and we have people from all different backgrounds, all different nationalities, all different religions and political standings,” said Business Manager Heather Knetsch, also known as Reckless Endangerment. “None of that matters. When you walk through the door. You are a skater the moment you hit the doorway, the moment you put your first skates on, that’s what you are. Nothing else outside the door matters.”

Who can play?

“It is for everyone, all ages and all types of people,” said Preston. “We have men’s teams, women’s teams, coed teams and junior teams all across the world.”

Preston adds that a lot of what goes into preparing people is starting from the beginning, then expanding on their strengths.

“We start by teaching people how to skate because we take people that don’t necessarily have experience,” said Preston. “Our number one component is balance and stability and then we start teaching speed and agility. And then once all of that is in place, then we can start teaching the power and the hits and the checks and receiving and so and so forth.”

“And then once their strength is just through the roof, then we can start fine-tuning those weaknesses and evening out the person’s game and being more of a well-rounded player.”

“And we also have different positions in our team so if you don’t want to skate, you can still come out,” said Knetsch. “We have non-skating officials, penalty trackers, scorekeepers and we have people that help sell our merchandise. There’s a lot, so you don’t have to skate if you want to be a part of our team.”

Thinking of joining?

There’s so much more to Madams of Mayhem than just competitions. It’s all about community.

“I got into roller derby 10 years ago because I was looking for something,” said Preston. “I didn’t know anybody. I showed up and they just welcomed me in without any questions asked.”

“Just shoot us a message on Facebook and I’ll answer you,” said Knetsch. “If you don’t want to skate the first night and just watch, that’s okay. But we will encourage you to put skates on because that first time you’re on skates is completely different than any other thing you will ever do. And roller derby will teach you that you’re going to fall, but it’s okay, you’ll get back up.”

“It’s an extremely addictive sport,” said Preston. “I think once you get in it, it’s very hard to quit it. And part of that is the community that it comes along with.”

And part of that community are the skater names you probably noticed on the players shirts & jerseys.

“A skater name is what people are referred to on the track, and everyone’s name is special to them in a different way,” said Preston. “Some people get theirs by [other] skaters dubbing them something. I got mine because [my team is] always saying ‘Allie get her,’ so my name is ‘Allie Get Her’. Some people it’s more of an alter ego, some people it’s just another part of them that is always there. So it’s just special to everyone uniquely.

To keep up with the Madams of Mayhem, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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