Westminster resident Amy Little’s name might be diminutive, but she skates fast and hits like a giant. The loquacious Denver Roller Doll goes by the track name of Moira Lee Devoid. She was a founding member of the Mobile Roller Derby league in Alabama, before work brought her boyfriend out West, her and her skates in tow. Here, the bruiser peels back the curtain on the track, shows us her scars and explains how to do it “Denver style.”
French Davis: How did you first discover roller derby?
Amy Little: I let my hairdresser talk me into coming to a practice. At first there were maybe seven of us; no one wore knee pads or protective gear, and we mostly just skated in circles for a few months. Four of us got together and drafted a set of bylaws and arranged monthly meetings. I became secretary. We practiced for an entire year before we even had our first bout.
FD: What was your first tryout like?
AL: Tryouts? You must be joking. In Mobile, we were willing to train anyone who showed up. There were a few people who were damn near impossible to get along with, and we didn’t really have a way to discipline them. Eventually they left for one dramatic reason or another. Our entire league was 14 skaters at the high mark. We were all very close, and everyone worked incredibly hard to make the league successful.
FD: Tell me about your first bout.
AL: There was no charge for admission because we were worried that no one would pay to see us… We’d split the league into two teams for the bout: The Black Hearts vs. White Noise. I was on the White Noise team. Everyone wrote which jams they were supposed to be in on their arm, and since there were only 6-7 skaters on each team, no one spent much time on the bench. I do remember hitting Sabrina (she was a Black Heart) so hard that her helmet popped off as she slid into the chairs where her family was sitting! That was exhilarating. I also remember we won.
FD: What brought you to Colorado?
AL: My boyfriend Broy is a web developer. In Alabama he was rapidly running out of room to grow professionally. He started to look elsewhere, regionally and nationally for his next career move. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was not going to move anywhere that didn’t already have a roller derby league because there was no way I was going to stop playing, and I reeeeally didn’t want to have to build one from the ground up all over again.
FD: Got any good war/scar stories from the track?
AL: Scars are fun, but injuries are not. I tore my PCL around Christmas of 2007. It was at practice during a blocking drill. I fell over a skater in front of me, and another girl landed knee-first on the back of my leg while it was still bent over the skater beneath me. I had to stay off skates for four months and I wore a brace for a little over a year afterward. My knee still hurts from time-to-time and I’m doomed to require surgery if I tear it any further. I’ve also fractured my tailbone a few times. Man, you don’t realize how useful that thing is until it’s broken!
FD: What are some misconceptions about roller derby?
AL: It’s not staged. We really do hit each other, and sometimes we really get hurt. We practice up to five times a week. We’re not going over choreography. We’re building endurance, practicing strategies and skills, and we all want to WIN!
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