Monty Campbell grew up watching roller derby on ESPN in the ’80s. As the popularity of the activity started picking up again, he began coaching roller derby about a year and a half ago.
As a Fort Hood Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation spokesman with an interest in the sport, Campbell decided to start a league on post.
“The (male soldiers) have rugby, so the women on post — soldiers and dependents — they needed something,” he said. “I thought, ‘Let’s try to get a roller derby started.’”
The Fort Hood Hell on Wheels All Girl Roller Derby League held its first meeting May 21 at the Health Promotions Aerobics Skating building on 37th street and about 30 people showed up. The league is open to Defense Department ID card holders aged 16 years and older. Each participant is allowed to bring two civilian guests who can sign up for the league.
Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members skating in the same direction around a track. Each bout consists of a series of short matchups, or jams, in which both teams designate a scoring player, who is called a jammer. The jammer scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The other four players attempt to assist their jammer while trying to stop the other team’s jammer from getting through — simultaneously playing both offense and defense.
Jessica Licata, an Army spouse with two toddlers, said she joined the club as a way to escape, relax and utilize the services offered to soldiers and their families.
“I try to do stuff that’s associated with the military,” she said. “The programs are there for us so use those opportunities to meet new spouses and meet other people and just kind of have my own identity instead of just being a mom.”
Licata said she’s also looking forward to the camaraderie and the fitness aspect of the sport.
“I love being on a team and doing team work stuff,” she said.
Campbell, the strength and conditioning coach for the league, said attending practices and participating in games is a great form of exercise.
“A healthy lifestyle is a good lifestyle,” he said. “(Roller derby) helps these girls. They’re going to be in the best shape of their lives coming in here and doing this because we’re going to be running them through a very strenuous fitness program.”
Ashley Panzica-Tolbert, an Army spouse, started learning about and practicing roller derby a couple of months ago. She also joined for the camaraderie, and to get out aggression.
“Everyone is buddy-buddy but then you get to kick their butts,” she said.