Real Women – Pro Akron – Real Athletes
The Rubber City Rollergirls roller derby team has been “jamming” out in Akron for the past seven years. Although the non-profit organization is technically considered amateur, their team is anything but. The Rubber City Rollergirls team is made up of 23 passionate women who share a common enthusiasm for the aggressive sport of roller derby.
“Once you get into derby, you’re in it for life” says Rubber City Rollergirl Melissa Longfellow, also known on the team as Mae B. Hazardous. Melissa first fell in love with roller derby when she visited the John S. Knight Center on a cold winter afternoon. After witnessing a defeat against “that state up north” she immediately e-mailed the team in hopes for an audition. She has since been a crucial part of the “big crazy derby family” for five years.
Melissa is an avid fan of the professionalism of the Rubber City Rollergirls. She appreciates that the women of the team are “real professional athletic competitors” despite the outdated belief that roller derbies are simply choreographed performances. Melissa believes that there is a lot more to the sport than girl power and claims “we are real athletes, we really get hurt and we really give derby our all. We are a team that is crazy involved with the city of Akron and crazy involved with our fans.”
As a non-profit organization, the Rubber City Rollergirls frequently dedicate their free time to local philanthropies throughout Akron. The team even hosts their own annual charity event, Skate For Kids, where they raise money to allow underprivileged children in Akron to skate with their families (and the team) for free.
The typical roller derby season in Akron consists of five bouts between January and May. Derbies are family friendly and host anywhere between 800 and 1,000 dedicated fans per bout. The next upcoming bout will be held at the John S. Knight Center on May 10 where fans can also enjoy Oddmall, the “most unusual art, craft, and culture show” in Northeast Ohio. Come explore your new favorite sport! As Mae B. Hazardous says, “one game and you’ll be hooked.”
By: Bre Koch