The pioneers of the Long Beach Roller Derby team entered the Belmont Shore rink wearing their bomber jackets on a sizzling Saturday. Despite the inevitable discombobulation that comes about from a six-year hiatus, the rollergirls all stood confident and ready in their starting positions.
The team’s original referee, Major Muff, sounded her whistle, and the jam began.
This warm Saturday morning marked the first reunion since the original derby team of Long Beach, LBRD, disbanded in 2012. The idea had been brought about by a simple Facebook reminder from Sara Blanche Scanlon, known on the track as Blanche Deathreaux, who contacted her former teammates to organize the get-together.
“It was an escape from all the problems we were having in our lives at the time,” said Anita Bonghit, one of nine founding members of LBRD, looking back at the early days of the team, before their lives headed in different directions. “We would just skate and have a good time.”
The name, by the way, came from the night of her first official game when she took a bad hit on the track and an audience member heckled, “she needs a bong hit.”
The original LBRD team, formed in 2010, grew to be more than simply a side hobby. “It all started in a church parking lot and ended up in the Spruce Goose Dome and selling out 2,000 seats,” Scanlon said. “It was huge just within a year’s time.”
“Long Beach was really receptive to the revival of roller derby back in 2009. Long Beach loved it,” said Major Muff. “There was a show to it. We were punk rock characters. This made it real entertainment.”
The nine founding members of the LBRD team describe their league as a sisterhood and a community they never knew they needed.
One member, known on the track as Legs, remembers joining the team before she even knew how to skate.
“When I met them, everything came together perfectly; it’s like a fairytale,” Legs said. Despite being the newbie at one point, Legs now skates for the world-renowned Moxi Skate Team and is involved in skating in all aspects of her life.
Despite the skaters’ battle scars from their time on the track, they reunited once again to stay true to their roots and keep their skate culture alive.
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