Can Melissa Sheketoff make the cut at roller derby? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Can Melissa Sheketoff make the cut at roller derby?

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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. -

Hey everyone, I'm Melissa Sheketoff. We're here at the Champlain Valley Expo at Fresh Meat Night with the Green Mountain Derby Dames. And if I have to try out, you're coming with me. That means we're using GoPro cameras so you can come along for the ride. A ride of hard work and fun once you master your balance and conquer the ability to speed by competitors on wheels.

"It is the coolest way, the funnest way to stay fit and make friends and do something outside your comfort zone," said Ellen Reader, a Green Mountain Derby Dame.

Roller derby is the ultimate contact sport, consisting of two teams rounding a track for a series of jams to score points by lapping the opposing blockers.

"It's a very aggressive contact sport, but it's so much more than that," Reader said. "You have to think so much when you play. So, it's a sport that's really great for people wanting something challenging both physically and mentally."

The Green Mountain Derby Dames is Vermont's first roller derby league. The team started rolling in November 2007 with the goal to empower women personally and athletically.

"Seeing everyone playing, how friendly they are, how accepting they are to any ability, and just how neat the games look, it really motivates me to get better," said Carolee Sutton, a fresh meat skater.

And at the time, I could agree. I was motivated to get up and get moving... at a very slow pace. But I found out very quickly and a bit painfully this is no easy task. Eventually I got the hang of it and made it around the track 11 and a half times in five minutes. Not bad for a newbie.

"Wooo, I did it!"

And as for making the team-- well, let's just say I have more work to do. But the laughs, wipeouts and efforts to gracefully glide made for a good time that was had by all.

"I think I can go pro now..."

And for any guys looking to give roller derby a try, you can check out the Vermont Men's Roller Derby team. Click here for more information.

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