After she straps on her pads, helmet and skates, biochemistry junior Alisa Lee transforms into Maiden Asia, roller derby aficionado.
Lee serves as president of the new roller derby club on campus with a goal to spread knowledge of the sport and even partake in bouts, or matches, with other teams including UA.
“I’ve been playing roller derby for about two years now, and I really wanted to bring it to ASU, because I know that not a lot of college students know about it,” Lee said.
To create a new student organization, the club must submit an application with three or more members and an ASU faculty or staff adviser, according to ASU Student Organizations.
“I reached out to people that already played roller derby and go to ASU so that we could put something together to make the club,” Lee said.
Next, she asked English professor Devoney Looser, whom she found from a previous State Press article, to be the adviser.
Looser said Lee approached her earlier in the school year and agreed right away to be the club’s adviser.
“The idea that we can have a roller derby community on campus as well as in the greater Phoenix area is just a good thing,” Looser said.
Both Looser and Lee play on roller derby leagues in Phoenix. Together, there are four female leagues in the Valley and one men’s league, Lee said.
“We really want to recruit guys and girls,” she said.
Exploratory sophomore Isaac Lomeli said he helped Lee form the club and now serves as the representative for Arizona Mens Derby.
“I thought it was a fantastic idea,” he said. “It’s one of the best ways to let people know about roller derby here at ASU.”
According to the British league London Rollergirls, roller derby teams consist of four defensive players, called the pack, and one jammer. Jammers race around the track to try and score points, which happens each time the jammer passes an opponent after he or she has lapped the pack once. The jammers continue racing around the track for two minutes or until the lead jammer ends the jam.
Lee said the game is played on two different types of tracks, a flat track or a bank track. She plays on a bank track, which has sloped slides, while a flat track is on flat ground.
“Either one has its pluses and minuses,” she said. “I’ve tried both, and I love both. It’s really whatever people prefer.”
The main purpose of the club during its first stages of planning was to be a group for players or fans of the sport to come together, Lee said. Now she says the group actually wants to practice and participate in bouts.
“We first started the club with the main purpose to just spread the word of roller derby to the campus, but then during the club, we also talked about maybe playing roller derby together,” she said.
Lee said she recently contacted UA, which has a roller derby team, and they are trying to set up a bout for next semester.
“We are really interested in bouting together,” she said.
This semester, Lee said the team will focus on fundraising for promotion, travel expenses and putting on bouts.
“Most of the funds will probably go into our bouts,” she said. “There are a lot of fees associated with that, because putting together a bout is basically putting together a production.”
Lee said the club is looking to put on a bout each semester and two meetings per month.
“Specifically for this upcoming meeting, we are planning to have a league showcase,” she said.
Representatives from each league in the Phoenix area will speak at that meeting to give exposure to all the different leagues, Lee said. Some of the representatives are actual members of the club, but two leagues do not have ASU members.
Lee said those leagues still will be represented at the meeting, so no league is favored over the other.
“If people come to our next meeting, they will really get an overview of the different roller derby leagues in Phoenix,” she said.
Lee said the main purpose of the club isn’t to encourage people to join leagues.
“It’s not really just to have people join leagues and start playing,” she said. “We want people to join our club that are just interested in roller derby or maybe just interested in becoming roller derby fans.”
The club also plans to teach members how to play the sport, Lee said.
“We are also going to put on kind of like a Derby 101 practice, because we did have some members that have never played before, and they might be interested in starting,” she said.
The group’s officers are volunteers, because they immediately needed them to apply to be a club, Lee said. The club has a president, vice president, secretary and three league representatives. It is still looking for a treasure and public relations officer.
“Because we needed officers right off the start to even apply, I really just asked who wants to an officer,” she said. “Next semester, we’ll do elections and stuff.”
Looser said she is excited to see the sport’s presence grow on campus.
“I’m hoping we’ll bring some life and color and vibrancy to campus as well as further athletic competition,” she said. “This is great exposure for a really fast-growing revival of the sport.”
Looser’s role in the organization will be to help the group and offer advice whenever the members need it, she said.
“Faculty advisers are there to share ideas and a sense of how to make the group stronger,” she said.
Looser said she would love to participate in bouts if the club decided to allow faculty members to play.
“I’m totally fine with either, but I’m certainly open to playing if that turns out to be what’s agreed on,” she said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @savannahleeh