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Sarah by day, Malice by night

Senior Sarah Chamberlain steps off campus, straps on roller skates and takes to the roller derby rink as Malice Monro

By Meredith McGrady
On November 19, 2010

  • Senior Sarah Chamberlain stands on the sidelines before a practice with her roller derby team, the Circle City Derby Girls. TheDePauw Editor

Senior Sarah Chamberlain isn't the typical flute performance and English writing double major. When Chamberlain puts on roller skates, fishnets and a pink helmet, she becomes Malice Monro, her roller derby alter ego.Chamberlain was first introduced to the sport of roller derby last fall when she watched the movie "Whip It" with a friend.

"I saw it, and I thought, 'This is totally awesome, and I really hope it's real,'" she said. "I've got to find out if it's real and if it is real, I've got to find out if they're doing it in Indianapolis or around here. This is a sport I can get behind. I've never been athletic before."

Chamberlain went to her first roller derby bout just a few weeks later and shortly thereafter bought a cheap pair of roller skates and began practicing in the Lilly Center. Then, on May 15 of last year, Chamberlain attended an open recruitment event for the Circle City Derby Girls and was offered a position on the team.

At first, Chamberlain served as a blocker, a player who skates in the pack around the rink. The women in this position try to stop the jammer, a skater who tries to break through the pack to score points.

"Malice, like a lot of skaters, was mostly a blocker at first. Blockers help their jammer to score points, and stop the opposing jammer from scoring," said Jeanie Neal, or Bona Contention, via e-mail. "Jammers have four teammates trying to help them, but five opponents trying to stop them. They have to be agile and fast, but also play smart."

Not long after joining the team, Chamberlain's coaches began playing her as a jammer. Recently, she has filled the position more often.

"We've only had a few skaters who could consistently jam and jam well," Neal said. "We needed a deeper jammer pool, and Malice is a nice addition to that."

When Chamberlain steps onto the rink - whether as a jammer or a blocker - she becomes Malice Monro, her registered roller derby name.

"In roller derby, no one can have the same name as anyone else," Chamberlain said. "There's a huge database that you have to submit your name to. Sarah Chamberlain only exists on Facebook."

Despite competing in Indianapolis and across the Midwest, Chamberlain isn't without her fans.

Senior Katia Satterfield attended one of Chamberlain's bouts in October.

"I'd heard of roller derby before, but I'd never seen a bout," Satterfield said. "Having someone I know in it encouraged me to go. I think it made it more personal. It's fun to root on the person with your favorite name and the ones you know, too."

Chamberlain explained that since becoming a derby girl, she's gotten into better shape and become more interested in sports.

"I never really knew how to talk about sports before," she said. "I enjoy all sports way more now."

Despite her interest in other sports, Chamberlain is still committed to her sport - and it's unique uniforms.

"There's a lot of booty shorts, and there's still a lot of fishnets," she said. "When roller derby first started up again in 2001 in Texas, the spectacle was a huge part of it. The sexiness is still part of the draw and a really fun part of roller derby.

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