It was a sunny, typical
caribbean afternoon when Team Puerto Rico held their tryouts at Ocean Park,
Puerto Rico, earlier this year. Team PR, preparing and training for the Blood
& Thunder Roller Derby World Cup, to be held in Dallas, Texas USA , this
December 2014, was just taking its first steps (on skates!).
A little over a half dozen
hopeful roller girls warmed up with various drills before playing for a
position on the (more than 20-strong) Puerto Rican team. The organizers of the
team and try-outs, coaches, and current players maintained a level of energy,
discipline, and motivation for the fresh meat, while looking for the new members
that would join to represent the Caribbean island at the World Cup.
The Puerto Rican derby girls
played an exhibition bout, where they showed off their dedication and talent;
and by the end of the afternoon, five new roller girls made it to the first-ever
roller derby Team Puerto Rico.
In between the tryouts and
the bout, the girls joined in a conversation about roller derby:
What is roller derby?
"Roller Derby is a sport
for women who are daring", shares Mala Suerte, from Cabo Rojo, PR.
"It’s a release",
says Mecha Corta, from Bayamón, PR, "It’s one of the few things in life
that eats you up in a good way. If you really like it, it can take over your
life. What you do is you wake up and skate… and you keep skating."
"It’s a sport about
communication, a lot of strategy, a lot of physical and mental effort…",
contributes Franka Tiradora.
"And you have your team
rooting for you”, says Mala Suerte, "You don’t play to be a superstar. We
all have to play as one, in order to represent. Individualism, is not what
Derby is about."
The roller derby girls of
Team PR skate united. But, furthermore, how do the members of Team PR define
"You have to have heart,
derby heart, and Puerto Rico heart", explains Loki Rhino.
"You have to be
revolutionary", Mala Suerte elaborates, "You have to dare to do all
that you believe you can do, because you’re going to end up doing it."
"We have to be
brave", Mecha Corta adds, "because we are going to be playing along
with teams from all over the world."
"But that’s what makes
it interesting...", reveals R.Tijeras, from Mayagüez, PR, "..what
makes it challenging, to move forward, to see that we can indeed do this."
What are the goals of Team PR
for the world cup?
"I hope to surprise."
"We want to show that…
even if we don’t win, we play hella good, and earn our spot on the map."
"We hope that going to
the world cup changes the entire roller derby scene in Puerto Rico, which is
not something that’s very officially known here much less taken seriously.
We’re going to change that."
“We want to learn from the
experience, then go back in 2016 and kick ass!”
The team’s enthusiasm is
palpable, so what exactly does the tryout day mean for Team PR, as as a
stepping stone for the country of Puerto Rico…?
Corta is quick to answer (and the rest of the team does not hesitate to agree),
"We will always be the first Team Puerto Rico."
Congratulations to Team
Puerto Rico, and wishing the Puerto Rican athletes much success at the Blood
& Thunder Roller Derby World Cup 2014!
follow the roller derby girls of Team Puerto Rico, please visit their page at:
by: Ruben Cintron
originally published in Spanish , at Diálogo Digital