Vanessa Wolf is fond of her front teeth, but after learning she’s unlikely to lose them, she may very well give this roller-skating thing a shot.
By Vanessa Wolf
Ladies, get your roller skates out.
This Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Kahului Boys and Girls Club, the Maui Roller Girls are recruiting for their 2013 season and no skating experience is necessary.
Gentlemen, this doesn’t mean you can’t be involved. The Maui Roller Girls are a volunteer organization, and they are also in the market for a few good men. Their need for volunteers in every capacity – from referees to board members – is at an all-time high.
We talked to Sarah Gray – “Sarassassin” to her opponents, “Sassin” to her teammates.
Maui Now: “No skating experience necessary”: isn’t that kind of a recipe for disaster?
Sarah “Sarassassin” Gray: We wouldn’t ever have a team if we required people to have professional skating experience. The rink in Kihei where they have the public skating is actually a much more dangerous place than when we play.
MN: What will you be looking for – and what can one expect – on Sunday?
SG: We’re not testing anybody. It’s not that people come and compete for a spot on the team. They can come, try on the equipment, and try us out.
MN: I notice you didn’t mention “a willingness to lose your front teeth.” Shouldn’t that be on the list?
SG: We’ve never lost a tooth on the team in five years. We’ve refined our training program. At first it was pretty wild and crazy – we didn’t have a huge amount of structure – but now we’re much more organized. Also, at the competitions, mouth guards are mandatory.
MN: So are you all über-jocks or former rugby players or whatnot?
SG: Our sport is made up of people who didn’t like sports. There are some women who are natural athletes, but a lot of people come in feeling like they’re out of shape, or they were drama people in high school or liked to read books. It’s kind of a beautiful thing because you see women who didn’t have that team experience before really get into it.
MN: So the awesome nicknames: is one responsible for coming up with their own or does the team bestow them upon them?
SG: There are a thousand ways to get a name. We have a couple girls on our team who are prone to naming you before you want it or are ready for it. It’s up to you to choose your name. You have to love it. That’s important.
It is often transferred over to your significant other. There was an unfortunate Mr. She She for a while. She doesn’t skate with us anymore. That may be why.
MN: If I tell you some things about myself, are you willing to take a crack at it?
- My name is Vanessa Robin Wolf.
- I bruise easily.
- I grew up on the east coast.
- I’ve been known to eat as many as three-dozen oysters in a single sitting…especially if someone else is footing the bill.
- I grew up roller-skating and my brother would always win the limbo contest and then refuse to share the prize – usually nachos – with me, and I still harbor some resentment about that.
SG: I could see you becoming fixated on becoming a limbo champ; maybe getting into yoga so you could master a really deep back bend and then stage a family show down.
MN: We only just met, but you know me too well.
SG: I’m not really one who does the naming, but you mentioned your middle name is Robin. We would probably do a spin on Robin Hood. I recommend something like the super hero you wanted to be or something that you aspire to be. You want something that’s strong or feisty; something badass.
MN: Would you say health insurance is recommended or required?
SG: It’s definitely recommended. However, the worst injuries on our team have been people slipping in puddles the day after the game. We have personal insurance through the Roller Sports Association. If something crazy happened, it would kick in.
MN: What are the costs?
SG: We charge dues once people decide they want to be a skating member. We do a physical test, which is the same nationwide: can you stop, can you fall safely. Nobody goes into any competition without having passed that. Once you pass that, then you start paying monthly dues: $20 a month two-thirds of the year. There’s also the initial expense of buying gear.
MN: What’s the number one reason you are one of the Maui Roller Girls?
SG: I would be a horrible, horrible person if I didn’t do it. It’s like the answer to all the little things that work in opposition to feeling great for me: not exercising, my tendency to be a little reclusive or the fact that I work in a restaurant and that can be a little high stress.
If this sounds like it might be for you, mark your calendar for 3 p.m. Sunday and give it a whirl with the Maui Roller Girls in person at the Kahului Boys and Girls Club.
Have an idea for a fun or thought-provoking story? Get in touch: we want to hear from you. -Vanessa (@mauinow.com)