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Published on November 30th, 2011 | by DerbyLife

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Can You Believe There’s A Roller Derby League HERE?! Puerto Rico Tropic Terrors

DL: Tell us who you are, and how you got started in roller derby?

NDS: I’m Niky Dee Stroys-U from Tropic Terrors Derby League in Puerto Rico and I was the founder of roller derby on the Island. I put my first skates on in January 2011 without even knowing that I would like roller derby. After 9 months of practicing, I played my first regulated scrimmage and knew from that moment that I wanted to be a Jammer. Right now I play for Reckless Bandidas mostly as a Pivot but I’m training to become a Jammer for my team.

DL: How did your recent tournament event come about?

NDS: After hearing the news that Puerto Rico had a league, E Racer X from Dixie Derby Girls contacted us thru our website and we kept in touch. After a few months of formation and practice I sent her an email to say “Hi” and keep in touch and she proposed a bout during their vacation time in the fall.

We began planning in May 2011 for a bout in October. I didn’t know what I was getting my league into. For preparations we submerged in the sport and started practicing blocking drills and jamming. We even went to RollerCon to watch a lot of live games. We opened registrations for other leagues to apply and participate in the bout. Our team Reckless Bandidas decided that it was too soon to play a bout with derby girls that have been around so long so we joined forces with another league Enchanted Island Roller Derby and we created an All Star team to play against the Dixie Derby Girls.

DL: How was the first ever Puerto Rican tournament?

NDS: The first part of the event was a learning experience for all local teams, including the referees as we started playing together that same month. The referees are as new to roller derby as we are and we had to adapt to a regulation quickly. The first three parts of the event were regulated scrimmages by referees and NSOs following WFTDA rules. Two of them were public and one of them was private for the hosting league [Tropic Terrors] and a visitor team. All of these events were preparing us for the upcoming bout with the Dixie Derby Girls. This is the first event in the island that was going to be regulated by WFTDA rules and we had most of the teams in the island helping as officials, so we all got something out of this event.

DL: PR recently hosted Ginger Snap and Hambone from Gotham Girls Roller Derby for teaching clinics. Was your team able to attend?

NDS: My team didn’t participate in this event because we had another special practice the same day.

DL: How did the team do in your bout with the Dixie Derby Girls?

NDS: In the bootcamp with members of the Dixie Derby Girls we also got some special guests from Tragic City Roller Derby.

We learned so much about strategy and endurance. Because the bootcamp was after our first bout we saw the way all the techniques can be used and how it’s so important to have great communication with your team mates. We practiced our minimum skill requirements for the WFTDA and we did the 5:00 minute challenge.

Tropic Terrors are preparing to apply to the WFTDA apprentice program and is hopeful that their name will be in the Apprentice leagues in 2012.

DL: Are you approaching your tournament or derby differently after the tournament and Dixie Derby Girls experiences?

NDS: After our different experiences with roller derby veterans we are looking at this sport differently and we are changing the way that we practice so we can become a better league and be competitive. We still have so many questions about how to successfully play a bout because we don’t have any league to look up to, and watch them play. Our best friend in our case is DNN because we can choose a league and follow their games and that actually helped us a lot. Intense bootcamps are great but for roller derby you actually have to have continuous guidance to keep learning as the sport evolves.

DL: Did you achieve your goals with the tournament and the Dixie bout?

NDS: All of the goals of this tournament were fulfilled. We wanted to show that even though we are a little 100 x 35 Island we can have other sports like roller derby and it doesn’t matter that our first language is not English, because we can still learn the WFTDA rules and follow them. We started scrimmaging and bouting, we are not scared anymore, we know more about the rules, we showed the people of the island that this is a real sport with real rules. We got the other teams and leagues more excited about roller derby, we can take a hit now, we set up a track for the first time, we are better because of this tournament and we are not stopping now.

DL: What is the future of derby in Puerto Rico?

NDS: Hopefully in the future Puerto Rico will have several serious teams and we start playing full seasons among ourselves. I hope all roller derby teams in PR join forces so we can have more resources and be able to create an All Stars team worthy of playing the World Cup in a couple of years. We are working extremely hard to become a WFTDA Apprentice League this upcoming 2012, we are preparing a game season next year, and we are so excited to be the league that is taking this sport to the next level in Puerto Rico.

DL: What kind of help do you need from around the world do to help you reach your goals?

NDS: It will be great if other teams and leagues consider us to bout either in their hometowns or on the Island. We are willing to make arrangements to travel or to accommodate people here. We also need people that will provide the guidance on “little big” things like I call them, like: the business side, how to get better equipment shipped to the island, bout questions, referee training, etc.

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