Staff Spotlight - Brandy Ray

Staff Spotlight – Brandy Ray

If you notice this pleasant woman coming up behind you in the hall and she gives you a little nudge, don’t take it personally, it’s just what she does.  She can’t help it.  For the last five seasons, our very own Brandy Ray, skating name Slam Diva Dax, has been a member of the Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls Roller Derby team.  Sooo, during the day while Brandy is providing therapeutic behavioral support to kids and their families at St. Bernard Elementary School, at RD practice and at the bout (game), she becomes this very pushy woman (this is a good thing) called a jammer who tries to barrel through everyone and lap the pack (group of skaters).  Her team gets points based on how many skaters she laps.  The opposing team knows it’s her not only because of the growling (I made that up I hope), but because her helmet has this really large star on the side (aka bulls eye).  All of the opposing skaters know she is the jammer and try to block her from passing them by basically any means necessary.   You have to love a sport that has hip whips and penalty kills and rink rash and fresh meat (new recruits to the team), I mean I’m getting pumped up just talking about it.

Brandy was born to skate and has been doing so since she was three years old.  I hope her house was a ranch…stairs would have been a killer…  Five years ago, she won tickets to a bout (game) and she has been hooked ever since.  You may not realize that roller derby has been around since the 1920’s with women’s roller derby coming on the scene in the early 2000’s.  Today, the sport is mostly made up of women who play for the camaraderie, the fitness and of course the fun of being allowed to just plow somebody over and not get in trouble for it.  Brandy also told me there is a strong “giving back to the community” aspect to roller derby.  Her team even has a name for it… The Big Hits, Big Hearts Campaign.  During every home bout, they feature a community organization or a charity that can use the event to get the word out about what they do, maybe do a split the pot or ask for donations.  Not a lot of places you can go where you can feel good about cheering for somebody to lose teeth (again, made this up??) because you donated to a worthy charity. 

So of course I had to ask Brandy the obvious question about injuries.  I mean, when you have a bunch of helmeted, padded women trying to knock you down and run over your face with tiny wheels (I am totally projecting here), there are bound to be “hockey hickies”.  I am so very glad I asked the question because Brandy told me one time, she got a bruise and in true roller derby girl fashion, she had the offending skater autograph the bruise for her.  Most people go for ice when they are injured, Brandy goes for a pen!!

Brandy said she hopes to continue skating for as long as she can.  “There is a strong team connection. This sport definitely builds self esteem, independence and strength both mentally and physically. It’s a great stress release and is totally fun!!! “ 

I can see the attraction but I think it makes more sense for me to hang with the bleacher creatures and cheer the next truck and trailer.