Walt's Look Around: Jammers on Wheels - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Jammers on Wheels

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COLUMBUS, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

By day they are housewives and career persons, but by night they turn into monsters. No, this isn't some Halloween fictional story, but reality for women who are taking up one of the fastest growing sports in America.   

Only in America could roller skates become a lethal weapon. Well, actually not.

There are women's roller derby teams all over the world. The way I count it, there are six teams in Mississippi right now, including the Mississippi Brawl Stars from Columbus.

In their last match of the current season they are taking on the North Shore Lethal Ladies from Louisiana.

Shannon Haupt is the captain of the Columbus team, she goes by Shanaconda on the court.

"I think a lot of people remember it from like back in the 70's when it was kinda like throw each other over the rail and fake fight" said Shanaconda. "It really is a very challenging sport. It's one of, I don't know if it's the only sport, but I think it's one of the few sports where you play offence and defense simultaneously."

Shanaconda, who, by the way, is the mother of six, is one of two people on her team who specialize in being the jammer. That's the person designated to be the scorer.

The jammer has to start behind the pack, work their way through, then skate around the track and then try to get past members of the opposing team again. Every opposing member she laps scores a point.

The other jammer for the Mississippi Brawl Stars is Elizabeth Williams, Elizablam out on the track.

They pick their own names. It can be anything, but can't be a name being used elsewhere in the country. A web site has the list.

Elizabeth, who is a special needs kindergarten teacher by day, says roller derby is an aggressive alter ego for her.

"It's a really empowering sport" said Elizablam. "It's made me in my personal life more assertive, in a good way, in a confident way. And I really do think that was because of the sport. I had to be assertive and aggressive on the track. And it's kind of bled over into my personal life."

"It's a game, but a lot more than that. Its exercise, but even more than that.

In one sense it's a way to be a purveyor of shock value. There's probably not a girl out there who's mother isn't shocked that her daughter is on a roller derby team.

And who isn't a little proud of her for being so.

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