We don’t have to live in Brooklyn to be cool. Here in the New Jersey suburbs, we have our very own all-woman roller derby league, and some of these rollergirls are moms.
Garden State Rollergirls is a skater-owned and operated organization established in 2006 to bring this classic sport to New Jersey. They’re bum-rushing Branch Brook park this Friday for their 3rd Annual Charity Bout to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. I first heard about Rollergirls on Baristanet, and next year, I just may try out myself. Maybe.
We spoke to one of the league’s top skaters, Belle N. Somebashin’ (AKA Jeannine Corey of Nutley) about balancing her love of skating with parenthood. “My son has 40 of the most interesting aunts a kid could hope for,” she says. “Not many kids get Christmas gifts and birthday cards from their Aunt BoneSaw.”
Jeannine, mom to 8-month-old Cameron, has always loved roller skating and martial arts. She was one of the founders of the league and got involved to meet friends with similar interests. This reminds me of why I got my library card, but that’s another story. Anyway, Jeannine was obsessed with the A&E docudrama about the Texas roller derby league.
Her love was born. Literally speaking, too. She skated until 3 weeks before she delivered her son. “No contact of course, I just did endurance and conditioning,” she says. She delivered 100 percent naturally with a midwife, and then she went right back to skating six weeks afterward. “I wanted to make sure I held to that part of myself and served as a role model to my son. He shouldn’t be afraid to try things he’s interested in, even if they’re off the beaten path.”
Practices are at night after Cameron goes to bed. But sometimes the baby goes to practices and likes watching the ladies whiz past him. He’s only been to one roller derby, called bouts, so far. “My husband thinks it might be too loud for him at this point.” (Wise, but maybe the mom who took her baby to The Shins concert would disagree.)
Will her son skate? “Derby is a culture and way of life,” Jeannine says. “We’re big on blance and as much as I love it, I want Cameron to find things that mean this much to him.”
Catch the Garden State Rollergirls this Friday at the Charity Bout. Or if you want to get involved, check here for info on try outs, refereeing or how to be a coach .
Garden State Rollergirls Charity Bout
Who: Kids and parents who kick a$$
What: 3rd Annual Charity Bout for the American Cancer Society
Where: Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center
7th & Clifton Avenue
When: Friday, May 29, doors open at 8 p.m., whistle blows at 9 p.m.
Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the door, kids 10 and under half-price.
Here’s a Rollergirls primer, below.