Mac’s roller derby girls eye national prize

Seniors Henson, Stauffer find themselves in a sport that also offers a larger community


Photo courtesty of Ruby Henson.

Henson (left) and Stauffer (center) team up during the Texas Junior Roller Derby’s victory over Rolling Rebellion Roller Derby on May 5 at Skate Country in Bellemead, Texas. The victory helped TXJRD to a 14th place finish nationally last season. The team is playing a non-competitive season this fall.

Stella Shenkman and Julia Kay Smith

Co-hosts Stella Shenkman and Julia Kay Smith sat down with seniors Abigail Stauffer and Ruby Henson to talk about their favorite past time: competitive roller derby. Henson and Stauffer have been a part of the TXRD league here in Austin, Texas since they were in elementary school, making it an integral part of their identities. “Girls join the league around 8 or 9, so they all start out much more quiet and conservative,” explained Abigail Stauffer. “But they have such a great and accepting community to grow up in. I don’t think we realized this when we were their age but the league was always there to support us.”

The roller derby track has been a place where both girls feel at home. They describe the league as a safe place where they are able to express themselves. “It’s really embracing of people who are not super traditional. So like, LGBT people or those who are exploring their gender identity, beacuse even though we do play sanctioned games as an all female team, that includes non-binary genders and a lot of girls who identify as queer,” Abigail discusses. Ruby Henson added that her teammates didn’t have any tolerance for hate. “I would say that it’s always been an accepting place and there’s never been room for bulls***. If any hate is ever exposed or shown, people get on that pretty quickly. It’s always been a great place to be who you want to be.”

The girls explained the rules of the game to Stella and Julia Kay making it clear that the sport isn’t exactly like the hit movie Whip It. Abigail and Ruby expressed their hopes for the future and nationals as well as for college in general. Both seniors discussed that they both see themselves continuing with the accepting mindset that TXRD and the realm of roller derby has instilled in them.

Photos courtesy of Ruby Henson.