Talking with the Windy City Rollers–Donna Party

Think you could spot a derby girl in a crowd? Think again–it could be the person in line next to you at the grocery store. The Windy City Rollers have a strong North Shore connection, with two skaters from Northbrook and one Wilmette. Make It Better caught up with Donna Party:

1.What’s a nice girl like you doing in the roller derby?
I am not that nice.

2. How did you first become involved with the league?
I first found out about WCR right after the league formed, went to the first game as a spectator and immediately thought “oh my god I HAVE to do this.” I bought roller skates and practiced with some friends that were also trying out, and waited until the league had tryouts.

There were about 80 girls who tried out that year, and luckily my friends and I all made it onto the league. I ice skated as a child, nothing more than the annual skating show with sequins and such, and roller bladed a ton in junior high and high school.

3. Tell the truth — Who gave you your skating name? What’s the story behind it?

I think (my friend and I) both saw Donna Party on a website for Garbage Pail Kids that were never made, called each other, and both had the same answer.

4. What’s harder — taking a hit in a bout or finding a spot to park at Old Orchard on the weekends?
Parking at Old Orchard, since I don’t like driving or shopping in a mall.

5. What do your friends and family think about your participation?
My Grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle come to every bout. They live in Northbrook/ Deerfield.

6. What keeps you coming back, practice after practice, bout after bout?
I am heading into my fifth season with the Windy City Rollers and love the sport. Skating has taken over my life. I love the feeling of my body in motion causing another body in motion to hit the ground in a strategic manner of game play.

7. A Jam and a middle school parking lot drop-off/pick up — compare and contrast:

I am not a mother, but if I could apply the contact of roller derby into driving in traffic or being in a crowd, I would knock everyone out of my way all the time. Roller derby is a great release for pent up aggression.

8. What’s the biggest misconception about your sport?
Where to start? We are a REAL sport. We play on a FLAT track- it’s fun. One skater can not punch/ hit/ trip/ push an opposing team member without being penalized/ ejected from the game. We do not get paid, we pay to play.

We are an all-volunteer run organization that is always looking for more volunteers to help us succeed and sponsors, we LOVE sponsors!

9. What’s your 9 – 5 occupation?
I am a freelance photographer.

10. Any sentimental life lessons to offer from your experience on wheels?
You only have right now to make something happen.

Photo credits: Donna’s photos courtesy of Mariah Karson