Junior finds balance in roller derby arena


Junior Ashley Adamson blocks an opponent during a roller derby practice. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Adams)

Megan Battleson, Staff Writer


Several kids at Greeley West are involved in sports, but few let it inspire them as much as junior Ashley Adamson. Since she was nine-years-old, Ashley Adamson has been strapping on her skates and embracing the roller derby lifestyle.

Roller derby is a contact sport where two teams with five members each skate around a sloped rink. Points are scored by “jammers” who display a star helmet covering, and attempt to break through barriers the opposing team members make, and complete a lap around the track.

After finishing school on Mondays and Tuesdays, Adamson heads over to her training grounds, Rollerland Skate Center in Fort Collins, and practices for two to two-and-a-half hours. With training weekdays, as well as a morning practice Saturdays, balancing is the name of the game for Adamson. “Derby has helped me learn how to balance school, work, and a social life,” Adamson admitted.

Adamson’s mom, a retired roller derby member, introduced her to the sport when she was nine, and she began her training in a Greeley league at The Kill Floor roller skating rink. After improving and learning more about the sport, Adamson transitioned to a Division I Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA) in Fort Collins and became part of the FoCo Spartans. “All of my friends from Greeley came with me,” Adamson said, “so I’ve been playing with my friends for like nine years.”

The FoCo Spartans is a co-ed team, which makes the sport stand out from most high school level sports, and even adds a bit of competitive fun. “It makes me feel good because I can hang with the boys,” she said.

Adamson primarily assumes the role of blocker, a member that joins with fellow blockers to prevent the opposing jammer from passing, and the pivot, usually the leader of their fellow blockers. Since joining the FoCo Spartans her freshman year of high school, Adamson has become one of the key three players.

The FoCo Spartans are among the best in the state, and they often have to travel out of the state to play with teams that pose a challenge. This year, she will travel with her teammates to California, Philadelphia, and Florida to take part in tournaments against teams with more evenly matched playing abilities. After turning 18, Adamson plans on joining a Division I Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) team in Denver. “I am so nervous and excited because all of the Division I girls know me,” she said.

“I love the family aspect and traveling,” Adamson reflected. “Nobody really looks at your body, it’s more about the skill set.” Overall, Adamson said it’s safe to say that “derby really has changed my life.”