TRAVERSE CITY — About two and a half years ago Brandy Gallagher discovered an athletic side of herself that she didn’t know she even had.
Gallagher began competing with Traverse City Roller Derby to fill a void in her life and since then it’s become a major part of who she is. She competes with the Toxic Cherries, one of two Traverse City Roller Derby teams — the Cherry Bombs are the other squad.
The Cherry Bombs will be in action at the Civic Center on Saturday, Aug. 17 for Fan Appreciation Night. The Cherry Bombs face Bath City for their bout. The Toxic Cherries have had trouble lining up an opponent for their final home bout and it is yet to be determined if they will be competing.
“I had skated at Skate World back in the day. Then I had rollerbladed, but I had never been part of a team or a sport in school at all, or even just intramural kind of stuff,” said Gallagher, from Traverse City. “So when I heard about derby I thought, ‘man, the only thing I’m ever good at is skating.’ I’ve always wanted to be part of a team so I thought I would check it out. I thought that was missing from my life, the chance to be part of a team. I didn’t know what that meant. I had been on committees, participated in choir and musicals, that kind of thing, but not in a sport. So I wanted to see what all of that was about. It’s amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s impacted my life in ways that I had no idea were even possible. I didn’t know that much was missing from my life.”
Roller derby is a high-energy, full-contact sport that features some of the principles of football, with blockers and jammers, the latter competing similarly to a running back. The only difference is it’s played on roller skates. Each jam, or play, can last up to two minutes long, creating physical and potentially high-scoring bouts. Those factors are what make the sport exciting to watch, according to C.C. Horvie, the PR Director for Traverse City Roller Derby.