LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin could soon be home to one of the newest roller derby teams.
Every Thursday, around 20 women exchange their running shoes for a pair of roller skates and hit the rink of the Skate Ranch in Lufkin. The Lufkin Roller Derby Rec League has been around for two months.
"They teach you how to hit and what you are allowed to do so you do not get in trouble," newcomer Jennifer Jo May said.
The league is taught by Mary Catherine Breen, who skates by the name of MC Squared, and Sarah Early, who is known as SOHO or Southern Hostility. The two of them belong to the East Texas Bombers, which are based out of Tyler and Jacksonville.
"I wouldn't say [the sport] is violent," Early said. "It's rough. I would say controlled chaos."
Breen said roller derby found resurgence in Austin about 10 years ago, and the sport has taken off in towns with flat tracks. Breen said the sport is similar to what people saw decades ago, with one exception.
"What you see on the flat track is real," Breen said. "It is not staged. What you see is what you get."
The sport is full of women from all backgrounds. Women participating in the program range from professors to physicians assistants to radio personalities.
"I used to watch it as a little girl and say I want tattoos like that and knock people around in a safe environment," May said.
Those taking part in the league are early on in the process. The coaches are first starting with the basic skills and will work their way up to contact drills.
May said one of the best things about the league is the workout she gets.
"It takes so much skill, agility, and physical fitness to do this sport," May said.
The coaches say the league is a way to socialize with others.
"They support you," Early said. "They build you up. There is acceptance, no matter where you are in the fitness level, what you do in life. There's nothing like it."
The league has practice every Thursday night at the Skate Ranch in Lufkin. Practices start at 7 p.m. and go two hours. Participation is free plus a $3 skate fee. All skaters are required to have full pads.