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Becoming a roller derby warrior
MARYSVILLE — By day, Marysville-Pilchuck High School graduate Tracy Fulton teaches computers at Providence Hospital in Everett. By night, her alter ego Morticia Militia takes over, unleashing a roller derby warrior.
Fulton and a friend saw a banner advertising roller derby, but at the time her plans did not include zipping around a rink with nine other rough-and-tumble women.
“My husband and I were thinking about having a baby,” Fulton said, “but that wasn’t going to happen, so I reconsidered skating. It was a little unusual because I have never been on a competitive team before. I was a cheerleader in high school — the one with the tattoos.”
With her parenting plans on hold Fulton was able to pursue a sport she knew nothing about. In 2009 she signed up for Snohomish County’s Jet City Rollergirls and soon Morticia was born.
“She’s elegant and deadly,” Fulton said about her other persona. “She is the opposite of me. I am very organized to a fault almost. I have to label everything in my house. I even label my labeler. I don’t like conflict and I’m very passive. But Morticia is different and I love being her.”
After tryouts, the Hula Honeys selected Fulton at the league’s draft. She attended the team’s grueling eight-week boot camp where she learned the ins and outs of the sport.
“We were taught how to fall during boot camp,” said Fulton, who has danced since she was young. “That’s important in this sport. If you don’t know how to fall you can really get hurt. I come home all the time with bruises all over my body, but I’ve never been seriously injured. The game itself was a blast to learn and it’s so much fun to play.”
The league was formed in 2006 and has four clubs — Camaro Harem, CarnEvil, Pink Pistols and the Hula Honeys. Teams, which can have up to 20 members on their rosters, compete in one bout per month from February through May. This past season, the Hula Honeys finished the season 0-4.
“We enjoy going to the games,” former roller derby competitor Robin Jung said. “I used to play for a team in San Francisco, but now I am just a fan. Now we bring our kids. It’s a rough sport but it’s not barbaric. It has changed over the years, but now it’s much more skilled.”
Roller derby has taken off since Fulton began competing three seasons ago. After playing its home games at Edmonds Community College, which accommodates about 900 people, the league moved to Everett Community College’s new 2,000-seat Health and Fitness Center this past season.
“It’s great to see that the sport is getting more in the mainstream,” Jung said. “They get really big crowds. It’s a fun sport to watch. There are some big hits and it’s fast-paced.”
Each team fields five players — four blockers and one point-getter or jammer as the position is known. The idea is to get the jammer through the opposing team’s pack of players. A point is scored for each member of the opposing team that the jammer passes. Blockers try to open a path for their own jammer while impeding the progress of the other.
Fulton, who plays the position of blocker, also plays for the Jet City Bombers, the league’s All-Star team. She skates year-round with the Bombers who compete around the country. They will travel to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., for competition July 23.
“I travel a lot for work, so I don’t love to travel,” she said. “But it’s different traveling for the Bombers. We have so much fun and it’s cool to play in other cities and other teams. Everyone plays a little different. But we’re strong girls and we can handle our own.”