I knew we had soccer moms in Forest Park but I didn’t realize we also have skater moms. Four members of the Derby Lite recreational rolling skating league list 60130 as their hometown. Not only did I not know we have skater babes in town, I didn’t know they’re rolling for a good cause. So far, the Derby Lite skaters have raised more than $17,000 for the upcoming American Cancer Society Walk & Roll on May 18.
Michelle Dirks is one of the women “old enough to know better” who will be skating along the lakefront that day. Skating outdoors can be problematic, as Dirks learned when the Derby Lite skaters participated in Forest Park’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“I got taken out by a Tootsie Roll,” she said.
No one will be tossing candy under their skates during the Walk & Roll but the skaters will be using their softer outdoor wheels. The indoor wheels they use at practice are sticky and keep them from flying into walls on the turns. Derby Lite practices twice a week at an Oak Park gym. Learning how to fall is an important aspect of their training.
Team captain Trina Bockus, the lone River Forester, said they wear helmets, wrist guards, kneepads and elbow pads for those losing battles with gravity. They also abstain from the rough stuff practiced by pros like the Windy City Rollers. Dirks said they’re learning the same skills as the pros but using them in a lighter version of the game. So, as they learn how to whip their jammers to the front of the pack, the skaters refrain from hair pulling, or hitting each other with chairs.
They do try to dress like professionals, though. They wear brown “Derby Lite” tank tops, brown and pink skirts, fishnets and “cool” multicolored socks. This is nothing like a soccer mom’s outfit. Although it’s true that everybody looks better on skates, the Derby Lite crew is more interested in fun and fitness than fashion.
Civic-minded to a fault, the skaters plan to roll in Oak Park’s Fourth of July parade. They’re also holding open enrollment (get it) in June for new members. Right now, they have 20 skaters coming to their practices on Tuesday nights and Sunday afternoons. If you’re interested in joining, you can visit their Web site www.derbylite.org.
That Web site is also a handy place to donate money for the Walk & Roll. Derby Lite already held a fundraiser on May 4 at the Lombard Roller Rink for the American Cancer Society. Their original goal was to raise $5,000 for the organization but one skater alone, “Helen Wheels,” pulled in $3,600.
The only question that remains is: why roller skates instead of blades? Dirks said that four-wheelers provide more stability. But, if you are going to fall, Dirks recommends falling forward rather than landing on your back.