Roller derby rocks as after-dark sport for moms in Philadelphia suburbs

These are the Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars – quite possibly the only league in America devoted to this high-speed and serious-contact sport, in which the skates don’t start spinning and hip checks and elbows don’t start flying until the kids have been tucked in and read their bedtime stories.

Most of the 38 women in the fledgling league are moms, four of them with twins, and in their 30s and 40s, a decade or two older than the iconic bad-ass roller girl.

“This is why I do this – I never get out of the house!” said Allyson Coffin, a slim blond who goes by the name Ally Avalanche and raises an 8-year-old, a 5-year-old, and 2-year-old twins – all boys – and works from her Berks County home. Before last summer, her skating experience had consisted of occasional kid birthday parties.

“I needed something for me,” Coffin said after practicing her team’s whip-it move. “This is great. This is my outlet. If it wasn’t at 9, I couldn’t do it.”

These exurban roller girls throw a hard elbow to many of the clichés of the sport: There are no tattoos splayed across muscled biceps, and unlike some of their urban counterparts, their nicknames, such as Busty Cage, reflect a funky fishnet sense of style rather than any penchant for unrestrained violence.

Compared with Philly Roller Girls, the city’s six-year-old league, which boasts “athletic, ferocious kick-ass chicks on wheels,” these relative newbies are still working on attitudes to match to their punky attire.

“We’re getting there, slowly, inching there,” said Lida Addison, 36, her team’s president and coach, whose thick black eye liner gives her the edgiest look.

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