Photograph By Peter Hapak for ESPN The Magazine
"There are girls who take this sport incredibly seriously. We have to dispel preconceived notions about theatrics and goofy wrestling antics, so we train really hard. We skate and work out five days a week, and we often cross-train on a sixth day. And we have full-time careers -- I'm a photographer -- so it's exhausting. But it's worth it. I hadn't been athletic since I quit track and basketball as a high school freshman, but I'm in my seventh season now, and roller derby has changed my outlook on sports and my body. It's all about the quads and the bum. The first thing that happens in training is your jeans get tighter; moving up a size is a way to quantify hard work. A strong rear end becomes an asset for blocking. You can hit with it, play defense and protect your tailbone when you fall. Being physical and feeling the adrenaline rush to survive is almost primal."