A local roller skating mom is preparing for her fifth season playing in the sport of roller derby. Sharon Wells, known better as her roller derby name Zena Zom.B, is a mom of two and is strapping her pads and breaking out the roller skates to take the rink for another season. Wells is a jammer for the The Deadly Kennedys in the Assassination City roller derby league, as well as the Dallas Metroplex travel team Conspiracy.
The teams in the Assassination City league are all based off of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Wells said.
“All of our teams have to do with that,” she said. “There’s Ruby’s Revenge, Viva La Revolucion, Deadly Kennedys and Lone Star Assassins. Then we have a travel team, which is known as Conspiracy, which are the elite skaters. You tryout for them and then you’ll travel and play other select travel teams across the state.”
This season will be Wells fifth season playing roller derby.
“I was a ‘fresh meat’ which is the training program, for a season,” she said. “This is going to be my fourth season on my team and this is going to be my second season as the team captain.”
She has been rollerskating for almost her whole life, Wells said.
“I was a ‘rink-rat’ when I was a little girl,” she said. “Well, I’m 43, so ever since I was 5 or 6 years old (Wells has been rollerskating). I remember when I was in first or second grade I had a pair of red, white and blue roller skates.”
The Deadly Kennedys won the championship last season. Seasons run from February through August, when the championship is. Each team will play two bouts per month, Wells said.
“So two teams will play each Saturday. You’ll get a big halftime show, then two other teams will play each other,” she said.
Games, known as ‘bouts’ last an hour total.
The halftime performances will be different for each bout.
“We have bands, belly dancers, we’ll have comedians, we have games that we’ll play with the fans. It just depends,” Wells said. “We just have an array of things we will do.”
The roller derby league will be moving to a different rink, Wells said.
“We are actually moving to Plano at Thunerbird,” she said. “It’s an old-school roller rink. It’s a flat track and you just bring your lawn chair and you’ll be on the track with us.”
The fans who sit on the front row get the full experience, Wells said.
“The fans who sit on the front row, you have to be 12 years old or older, because you might end up with one of us in your lap,” she said. “It’s called the ‘crash zone.’”
The number of fans that attend the bouts depends, she said.
“We’ve had up to 1,100 fans attend,” Wells said. “Our season opener is our huge bout, everybody comes. Then, our championship bout always sells out. It just really depends on what’s going on in the Dallas Metroplex. If there’s a lot of concerts or something the attendance might be a little bit lower, but we usually have a really good turnout.”
Injuries are nothing new to Wells, she said.
Bruises and broken bones are nothing new for Wells although co-workers and other people might think otherwise, she said.
“When I very first started my other job, before they knew I played roller derby they would ask ‘Why are you so bruised up?’” Wells said. “I told them ‘I play derby, I promise,’ but a lot of people probably think something else is happening.”
“Myself, I’ve had two broken ribs, a broken rib, busted eardrum, I have seven screws and a plate in my ankle, black-eyes, busted lips,” she said. “One of our players, she broke her leg in 11 places. Dislocated shoulders and a lot of knee and ankle injuries, those are the No. 1 injury you’ll get, it’s pretty aggressive.”
Wells said the point of roller derby is not to hurt the other opponents on the rink, but it is just an occurrence that happens when teams try to score points.
“The only job of those four blockers is to stop the jammer legally,” Wells said. “Legally means to hit my body. So usually, they’ll use their hips or their chest to knock me down, push me out or stop me.”
Illegal hits include throwing elbows, punches, tripping, hitting under the knees or above the shoulders.
Teams get points when jammers pass another team’s blockers. There is one jammer and four jammers on the rink at one time, Wells said.
Wells said she plays both positions and enjoys doing both.
“I love to jam, but I also like to block too,” she said. “I like to give a good hit sometimes.”
The first bout of the season is at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21. The tickets are www.acderby.com and cost $10 each ($8 for group tickets, which is 20 or more tickets) and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Season passes are $100.