Derby Strong

July 5th, 2013 | 0 comments
Draconian Angel's promotion

Pepe le Pew Pew Pew, Venom Assassin, Crashiopeia, and Ella Whirled support Draconian Angel at her recent Navy promotion

  In derby, we play hard, we hit hard, and we work hard. It makes sense that this intensity would bring a crop of strong women. Some of the women on the team are more than just derby strong; they’re army strong, too! The derby team plays host to women who have varying degrees of involvement with our armed services.

Draconian Angel says that she is proud of both her Derby and Navy uniforms. She is currently active, working at the National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency. She has been active for six years, and has been deployed three times. She says that she is proud of her service because, “I am the first female in my family ever to serve. I have a father who is previous Navy and a brother who is a prior Marine. I am proud to be in the one percent of the population who continuously makes sacrifices so others don’t have to. The military is asked to spend months away from the people they love and we often miss birthdays, holidays, births, and deaths of loved ones and we do it without blinking. Being a part of the military means being a part of something greater than you, it’s a family that stretches across oceans and builds lifetime relationships built on pride of service, pride of country, and pride of self.”

It may seem that derby and the Navy have very little to do with one another. Draconian Angel says that while the two aren’t closely linked, derby is a great way of maintaining Navy physical fitness standards. “What better way to stay a lean, mean, fighting machine than by throwing down on the track?”

Boots and Skates

Crashiopeia and her husband pose for a photo shortly after his return from his deployment. Photo courtesy of Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy

Crashiopeia’s husband is a member of the Army Reserves. During 2012, he was deployed to Afghanistan. She says that Derby served as a precious support system for her during that time. “Being part of the Army Reserve, when units are deployed, families at home form a Family Readiness Group (FRG), which is basically part phone tree, part social group.  Since my husband and I were so far from his unit’s home base (Nashville, TN), I was unable to participate in many of the social parts of the FRG.  I decided that the Dames were going to be my local FRG and I tried to make it clear to everyone that I was going to need help (something that is hard for me to ask for) and support through a very difficult year.”

Through the support of her team and by staying busy as Productions Chair on management, she was able to make it through the year. “My team helped me more than I could ever have imagined. I had teammates checking on me everyday, making sure I was alright, having lunch, coffee, work breaks with me, encouraging me to come to practice, even when I just wanted to curl up in bed, pushing me to be a better skater and helping me put together care packages for my husband. When I had meltdowns, there were a few, my teammates listened, supported, and sometimes just got me a margarita. I had a teammate that had also been through a deployment and her support and understanding was invaluable; just having someone close that had also been through this ordeal made it a little easier.”

Koala Claws' father

Koala Claws’ father was a member of the Navy during World War II

Others were more distant from the service of their loved ones, but are still proud of the role that their relations served. Koala Claws, a fresh meat skater, told me a little bit about her father’s service. “My dad was in the Navy during World War II.  At that point, he felt like it was his patriotic duty to serve the United States.  He loved the water and the Navy seemed like a natural choice for him.  While I was growing up, my dad did not discuss his service much, although as an adult I found out more.  He served on the Kephart DE, mostly in the Pacific.  He was a Gunner’s Mate II and he ‘adopted’ a dog while on the ship.  The dog was [named] Hashmark and became a part of the crew and then went home with my dad when he was discharged.”

Whether their involvement is direct or distant, the Charlottesville Derby Dames are proud of our military affiliates. Many thanks to our troops at home and overseas!

Post by Slam Gamgee

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