By AMANDA BARNETT
Ambrosia LaFluer, 25, is a psychology major at IU South Bend, as well as an A-team roller derby girl. On the rink and by her fellow derby girls, she is known as Ginger Snapped.
On the first Tuesday of every month, the South Bend Roller Derby Girls can be found having their practice scrimmage at USA Skate. The scrimmage is open to the public and free to attend.
“I got involved in roller derby because I needed a hobby,” LaFluer said. She was involved in a long distance relationship at the time and wanted something besides school and work to occupy some of her daily time.
Soon after becoming a derby girl, LaFluer realized she got a lot more than just a hobby. When speaking about her roller derby teammates, LaFluer said “All those people care about me and I care about them too.”
LaFluer said that being a derby girl has given her confidence and made her grow into who she is.
Another benefit of being a derby girl is what LaFluer deems “The Accidental Workout.” The workout comes in the form of their team practice which takes place three days a week.
“Being a roller derby girl is extremely demanding on my time,” explained LaFluer.
LaFluer gave a simple explanation on how the game of roller derby is played: “Roller skating races plus football without a ball.”
There are five players from each team on the floor at a time. This includes four blockers and one jammer, which are the only two positions in roller derby. According to LaFluer the jammer is similar to a quarterback.
“It’s full contact” and “the bruises are real,” LaFluer said. The players wear plenty of protective gear including helmets, kneepads, mouth guards, wrist guards and elbow guards.
There is also a penalty box in roller derby.
“You cannot hit with elbows,” LaFluer said, explaining one way a derby girl can receive a penalty. A penalty can also be given for tripping an opposing teammate. After seven penalties a blocker gets sent to the penalty box.
A game lasts for an hour not including the 10 to 15 minute halftime in between.
LaFluer began her roller derby experience playing the position of jammer but switched to the position of blocker, which is the position she plays currently.
Her change in position was brought on by an anxiety-filled game with an opposing team that was far more experienced.
A one point in the game there was LaFluer as the jammer and only one of her blockers on the floor. The other three blockers were sent to the penalty box, leaving LaFluer with only one blocker to defend her from the opposing team.
This made for two minutes of LaFluer being knocked down nonstop and having to jump right back up. In her words, it was “two minutes from Hell.”
When she is needed LaFluer will step in as a jammer, but most of the time she is content with her position as blocker.
LaFluer looks forward to the after-party which concludes every derby game. The party is hosted by the home team.