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Community involvement: Be your own hero

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jessica Fehsal
  • 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron
"Put on some skates; be your own hero," said Maggie Mayhem in the movie "Whip it."
It was roughly a year ago when I first viewed the film which motivated me to join roller derby. I swore I would play on a team, if given the opportunity. As fate would have it, not long after making my decision, I read an advertisement in the Mighty Ninety Messenger recruiting for an up-and-coming roller derby team in Cheyenne, Wyo. I jumped at the opportunity and now feel very fortunate and proud to be a team member of the Cheyenne Prairie Fire Roller Girls.

The objective of roller derby is for your team's offensive players, called jammers, to make it through the defense as many times as possible to score points within a two-minute period, or jam. Although the premise of the sport sounds simple, the challenge lies in learning how to effectively and strategically block the opposing team's jammer, while helping your jammer successfully navigate through the pack.

Much like the Air Force mission, and the mission of deterrence at Air Force Global Strike Command's F. E. Warren Air Force Base, roller derby players must assume offensive and defensive positions simultaneously. In roller derby, we must be a dominant team capable of competing against any team, anytime, anywhere. Like the Mighty Ninety, our team achieves success through gearing up and performing the same way, every day.

In addition to being an instrumental part of a team, benefits of playing derby include improving physical fitness, relieving stress, enlisting in a new culture, making new friends and gaining confidence and empowerment.

As Airmen, we must embrace the whole-person concept, perform to the best of our capability, strive for self improvement and engage in the local and base communities. Our derby team also lives by these values and provides team members with many opportunities for self improvement and community involvement. Partnerships with local agencies, such as the Wyoming Safehouse are encouraged.

The philosophy of the Cheyenne Prairie Fire Roller Girls is that bruises should be on derby girls, not victims of domestic violence. Therefore, we chose purple and teal as our team colors, representing domestic violence and sexual assault, and to emphasize our involvement in the Wyoming Safehouse, an organization that provides shelter for victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault.

To date, Prairie Fire Roller Girls have raised more than $1,600 to support the safehouse and victims of domestic violence.

If you are up to the challenge of learning a new sport, being part of a team, improving yourself and giving back to the community, roller derby may be for you. Currently, our team is recruiting derby girls. Men and women are also welcome to join as referees. Anyone older than 18 with a high school degree is eligible to play, no matter size, shape or skating experience. For further information about us or roller derby in general, visit So what are you waiting for? Grab some skates, "be your own hero" and become part of a professional roller derby team!