Photo by Oscar Walsh
Junior Thea McCallie always dreamt of flying. The moment she walked onto the derby track at eight years old, she felt an undeniable rush of belonging. As she positioned herself on the line, she took a deep, nervous breath. The whistle blew and she found the next best thing to flying: roller derby, a sport that has taught her dedication, leadership, and confidence.
McCallie’s relationship with roller derby began at the Moonlight Rollerway, where her family would often leisurely skate. But, it quickly became more than just a fun activity and she fell in love with the sport. In third grade, McCallie joined the Derby Dolls, a local league of over 150 skaters, and after eight years, her dedication remains strong as the co-captain of the Junior LA Ri-ettes. The Derby Dolls emphasize community, as every skater shows a loving and supportive attitude both on and off the track. The open and friendly environment allowed McCallie to foster friendships and close bonds that have enabled her to become more confident on the track.
“Confidence in my skating has been an issue in the past for me,” McCallie said, “but working with my teammates on the track has reminded me that I am in a safe environment to mess up and workshop skills. As a more confident skater, skating is more fun, but most importantly, I have also improved at a much rapid rate from before since I am willing and eager to practice new skills and leave comfort behind.”
Throughout the week, she dedicates around six hours to derby, practicing drills at the Derby Dolls track. Recently, with the hot weather and lack of air conditioning, she has found herself searching for motivation during rigorous practices, but her passion and supportive teammates inspire her to push through these challenges.
“I feel so lucky to have clicked with roller derby, which as an all women’s sport has created a positive environment for girls and women to be taken seriously as athletes,” McCallie said.
Roller derby has played an important role in her life, shaping her to become a well-liked yet assertive leader. She will carry this interest and experience throughout her life with confidence and a desire to show people the beauty of roller derby. Thea McCallie is certain that she will passionately skate with her team down the road of success.