“It’s not just throwing elbows and beating the crap out of each other.”
That’s Stephanie Burg, aka “Rita Slayworth” describing what initially drew her to the sport of flat track roller derby. Burg said once she experienced the derby for herself, she learned that it actually requires a lot of strategy, including offense and defense.
Burg, an active-duty Soldier, first participated in roller derby while stationed at Fort Drum, New York. She was assigned to a unit where there were not a lot of female Soldiers, so when a fellow co-worker asked if she was interested in checking out the sport, she decided to give it a try.
After a permanent change of station to Fort Bragg, Burg found Fayetteville Roller Derby and has been an avid skater ever since. She said there are many benefits to the sport.
“It’s just a blast to watch. You come and there’s so much athleticism involved, you get to be really physical … it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great time for a variety of ages. It’s military-friendly. There are a lot of people on the team who have been in the military at some point … it’s a culture within a culture.”
A big part of the FRD culture is giving back, Burg explained. The team engages with the Fayetteville community by volunteering at area non-profits like the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society, and hosts a charity at each home match.
FRD donates a portion of the night’s proceeds to the featured organization, which also has an informational booth at the bout.
Saturday, during the team’s last home match of the season, the team hosted Second Harvest Food Bank. After visiting the booth, Families participated in “Chuck a Duck” and watched FRD dominate the Columbia Quad Squad.