Games scheduled for East Texas roller derby league for first time in three years

Games scheduled for East Texas roller derby league for first time in three years
Team working on drills to prepare for upcoming season. (Source: KTRE)

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - For the first time in three years, the East Texas Bombers roller derby league has games booked for this season.

While they are not rolling games into Lufkin quite yet, the team is excited about the opportunity to play.

They practice three days a week and are currently focused on strength and endurance.

“We work out before we ever put on skates,” said co-captain, Samantha Brazeil. “Then we put on skates, do an endurance drill, and then we do a physical strength drill, and then wall work. The strength to fall down, get up, fall down, get up, that’s a full-body workout.”

Brazeil said she had always loved roller skating as a kid. Her doubt going into roller derby was if she was strong enough, or aggressive enough to play.

“I came in and I could skate. But obviously. I couldn’t hit people on skates,” Brazeil said. “So really any skill level, any skill level. We have a few girls who have come in with zero experience, never been on skates in their life and are now dedicated players on the team.”

She says the individuality and empowerment of the sport is one of the reasons she enjoys it.

“It’s important to be representative of, you know like, I have tattoos. I can still be aggressive and be a mom and be an educator, and be involved in my community,” Brazeil said.

Captain of the team, Angela McGrath, said she enjoys the connections.

“Really the friends. I had no friends before this and now I have, these are all my best friends,” McGrath said. “We hang out outside of roller derby.”

The team is struggling to find a ten-thousand-foot square venue, to fit a track, refs, and all the safety personnel involved. So while there won’t be a home game right away, they are staying optimistic.

“I’m hoping and I’m praying that something pops up and we can have a home game,” Brazeil said. “Because we are the East Texas Bombers and we’re here to represent Lufkin and Nacogdoches, and we want to bring people from Lufkin and Nacogdoches out.”

Overall, Braziel said she has enjoyed how humble and supportive every single player is.

“You can be trying your hardest to get through the wall and they can be beating on you and you’re like, ‘I’m never gonna do it. I’m so tired.’ And they’re like, ‘You can do it.’ and they’re on the opposite team,” she said.

The number one worry they hear is that people are afraid. And to those who do have a slight fear, Brazeil says, “It’s okay if you feel afraid. But just challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone. Because in life, with anything, if you don’t feel a little uncomfortable, you’re not going to grow.”

The team said that if you are interested but don’t have the equipment, the team has some you may borrow to get you started.

Monthly dues are $30 and students at Angelina college or Stephen F. Austin pay $20.

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