Love on Wheels: Greensboro Roller Derby Talks Love, Derby
Roller derby isn’t as mean as most people may think. Sure, sometimes we hit each other around the track with our hips, but it is all for a greater good: to grow and strengthen each other’s skills. There is a whole lot of love in this sport. I asked a few of my fellow Greensboro Roller Derby league-mates about their love for derby and how they met the love of their life through derby.
Ashley and Mariah Ferguson (also known as Emma Ture and Roby Wan Kenobi, respectively) met each other through derby and have been together for two and a half years. The Fergusons got married last October, and they have both never formally competed against each other. Ashley wrote in a Facebook message that they have both been on the same home team (Elm Street Nightmares) and travel team (Gate City Allstars). Ashley wrote that when Mariah joined GSORD, she was paired with her as a mentor.
Mariah wrote that if it hadn’t been for roller derby, the couple would have never met.
“Different things brought us to the sport at separate times, but I am so glad our paths finally crossed!” Ashley wrote in a Facebook message.
Ashley wrote that derby had brought them closer together because it allows them to be each other’s “cheerleader and biggest fan.” She wrote that it also pushes them to be better versions of themselves.
“It really allows you to celebrate the person you love while they are doing something they love,” Ashley wrote. “This is a tough sport; it teaches you how to overcome struggle and not sweat the small stuff.”
Mariah wrote that her fondest memory of Ashley off-track was one year into their relationship on her birthday when they ate sushi with Mariah’s mother. Ashley wrote that her fondest memory with Mariah on-track is anytime they can play around with each other while skating.
“She always knows how to make me laugh and put a smile on my face,” she wrote. “I absolutely adore this woman! (Roby Wan) allows me to be myself completely and constantly encourages me. It’s pretty amazing to have your wife, best friend, and teammate all wrapped up in the same package.”
Sadie Spaugh (aka Coccyx Blocker or CB) and Amanda White (aka AT Sixit) just got engaged this past December at the GSORD end of the year party after spending almost two years with each other. They plan to get married on Oct. 26 of this year. Spaugh said they met at a mutual friend’s birthday party, held at a skating rink.
“It wasn’t love-at-first-sight, but definitely an extreme interest in who the other was and how we could get to know each other,” Spaugh wrote in a Facebook message.
Spaugh said White had been playing derby for many years, however, she was taking time off when they met. White soon joined GSORD where Spaugh was skating after they began dating.
“Derby has pushed our bodies and minds to the limit, and being able to experience that with each other has only made our bond stronger,” Spaugh wrote in a Facebook message. “Also, derby takes up a lot of your time, so it’s nice to have your partner there with you through it all. Derby teaches every athlete about self-worth and confidence, so as we grow stronger as individuals, we grow even closer as a couple.”
Spaugh plays on the Elm Street Nightmares home team and with the travel team Greensboro Counterstrike, while White plays on the Battleground Betties home team and with the travel team Gate City Allstars. Even though the couple is on different teams, Spaugh wrote that she likes playing against White better than playing alongside her.
“Though we work well on the track together I love being on the opposing team,” Spaugh wrote. “Though I don’t get the upper hand a lot, those times when I can land a really good hit on her are the best! But if you ask Amanda, she would probably say she would rather play with me!”
Spaugh wrote that her fondest memory on-track with White has been in a particular scrimmage where White was jamming and “not paying attention.”
“I was on the opposing team as a blocker, and I landed a gorgeous hit on her, and she went flying to the outside,” Spaugh wrote. “It will always make me laugh!”
Spaugh wrote that she owes derby her life because of everything it has given her.
“Through derby, I found myself, and discovered my worth as a person and was able to put my life back together piece-by-piece,” Spaugh wrote. “And then a year later, [derby] gave me the greatest gift I could have ever asked for, it gave me Amanda. As we plan our fall wedding, I can’t believe what a wild ride it has been, but I am so thankful for every minute of it. She is my best friend, my life partner and my teammate. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.
Want to see the love of roller derby in action? Check out the team’s Facebook page (@GreensboroRollerDerby) and website (www.greensbororollerderby.com/schedule-score/) to view the schedule. The first home-bout of the season is March 10 at the Greensboro Coliseum Hall B from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.