Jr. Writing Contest Tootsie Roll girl, Photo: Manish Gosalia

Published on August 23rd, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


Tootsie Roll girl, Photo: Manish Gosalia

The Candy that Made Me Who I Am

By Sarah Phander aka Tootsie Roll Girl

Well this is where it all started. My mom was skating on the adult derby team and since I loved to skate, I wanted in to. I told mom and the first thing she says is junior derby Yah. As soon as heard it was possible I decided to join. When I got to the first practice I was really nervous, I didn’t know anyone. Then as if out of nowhere this girl skates up to me and say Hi, you must be new to the team. Friendly and fast, just like that I knew I was going to like this team. When I started to skate I was shaking so bad it reminded me of a monkey shaking a tree for bananas. The drills looked hard and I was afraid I wasn’t going to be as good as the other girls. After all, I was the new one on the rink. What happened next surprised even me. The juniors got invited to skate half time at the next Vixens bout. Talk about butterflies, I felt like worms were trying to get out. I went to the bout thinking it would be cool to watch. Being thrown into the scrimmage was the last thing I expected to happen. I wasn’t supposed to skate, what were they thinking? I knew I wasn’t ready and I think but coach new it too. He called it rolling the dice, took a chance and threw me in to the wolves. This brief experience in derby ranks right up there with ice cream and tootsie rolls. Later that would become a key to picking my derby name.

Throughout the year I would learn new skills and keep getting better at all the drills. I learned how to do Plow Stops, T Stops, crossovers and the dreaded Tomahawk Stop. I even learned how to weave through a pace line. That is where all the girls skate in a line and one player does slalom between teammates. I really like the people on my new team. Not only are they really friendly but they help me get better at the drills each day. What makes practice even cooler though is that my mom helps out. Nothing is better than skating with mom, not even tootsie rolls. That’s me by the way Tootsie Roll Girl #2828. I choose that name because it is my favorite candy and because that what my dad calls me. To dad I will always be his little tootsie. Every time I think of my nickname I grin from ear to ear. My number is a different story #2828. That comes right from my mom. Her number is 2121 and I wanted mine to be close in style. Why you might ask. It’s simple; she is my role model when it comes to roller derby. Who wouldn’t want to be like Buffy Dee Slayer? My mom has been my inspiration ever since I saw her skate the first time.

At practices we work hard on drills, skills and safety. We work on building walls, to block the other team’s jammer, falling small so we can keep our fingers in one piece on our hands and whipping to help our jammer score some points. Practice isn’t all serious work. Sometimes we get to play derby freeze better known as freeze tag. Just to give you an idea, we start skating really fast. To prevent from getting frozen we have to use one of our drill stops and shout a derby term. I like to squat in my derby stance and yell “toe stop”. It always reminds me of one of my favorite movies “Cutting Edge” the star ice skater is always yelling “toe pick”. Other terms you hear often are helmet, knee pads, wrist guards and mouth piece.

I have a lot of fun with my new friends and teammates. When we aren’t practicing we are usually running around and goofing off. My coach is really neat too. He believes that all work and no play make for a boring day. He always helps me build up my strength, endurance and confidence. Coach has taken me to a lot of fun locations. I skated in Coney Island, derby assessment skills and ECDX. ECDX was an awesome experience. It took place in Pennsylvania and involved derby girls from all across the country. Bonnie Thunders skates like thunder floats through the air. Still not as cool as my mom, but certainly fun to watch.

We practice Mondays and Thursdays as long as it isn’t raining outside. Skating while it’s raining cats and dogs really isn’t much fun. That’s only because we practice outside. I know what you are thinking and your right. During the summer I sweat gallons every practice. Crazy I know. I tend to miss every Monday practice during the summer thanks to softball. I do play more than one sport you know. I get so worn out sometimes that I feel like a balloon with a slow leak. Wednesdays are exciting because I know that softball is over for the week and the next day, which is Thursday, I get to see my derby girls once again.

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  • Robert Miller

    Keep rollin’ Sarah!!!

  • Nancy Phander

    Thats my girl!

  • Bonnie Thunders

    My mom was always one of my inspirations growing up too!

  • Ellen T

    Wow, Sarah! I’m so impressed. As if being the best player & star catcher on your softball team isn’t enough, you’re a rock star derby girl, too! The relationship you have with your family is special & that’s because they’re great people. :) Excellent article…loved hearing how you got your name & #!

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