By Jeff Rebitski, Staff Writer
The Soon to be renamed Riverton Roller Derby team known as The Cherrybombs is seeking support for a new name. The group has reassembled and with the hope of new membership is building the team. With the recent purchase of a sports deck that can fit into almost any venue, they hope to develop a permanent place to practice and host “Bouts” here in Riverton.
According to coach and team member Lloyd Byron, “the need for members and community support is needed to push this team along so we can compete with other teams in other communities. We offer a junior league and an adult league so everyone can play.”
At their weekly practice at the fairgrounds on Thursday night, several members of the team were present for drills and strategy talks. Coach Lloys took this reporter onto the field of battle to demonstrate some of the basics of roller derby and give me the view from the skater’s perspective. “This is a psychological game that involves a great deal of mental acuity. You must play offense and defense at the same time while keeping your eyes on your Jammer.” says Lloyd.
This is a fast paced game with sudden changes happening at all times. The laughter heard while the players skated was evidence that the game offers more than adrenalin and speed. It offers comradery and support for those who need it with zero judgment for those who are just learning. As I spoke to one player on the sidelines, she shared that she has gained self esteem and confidence in herself that has helped her in other parts of her life, something she never thought would come from something as simple as skating. One “Skating Mom” who was there to support her daughter, stated that her little girl was struggling in school to stay out of the normal teen drama. After being invited to visit a practice by Derby board president Jenny “Toxyjen” Oviatt, she was hooked on this new outlet for her creative talents.
Each player was an open book and welcomed my inquiries into the sport and their reason for playing. “The hope”, says “Toxyjen” “is that the community of Riverton will help us find a new name. We need a name that represents the game and the community.” They long to be competitive in the sport and will be traveling to Salt Lake this weekend with a merged team from all over Idaho and Wyoming called “Wydaho” to play in a tournament.
So far, there has been support from the Parks and Recreation Department with funding for the sports deck and there are other potential grants to be had for economic development if they can field a consistent team and be counted as an semi-professional sports team.