This ain’t your grandma’s derby…

The Vixens proudly repping Lansing in the 2011 Michigan Pride Parade! Photo by Ryan Knott

Hi there. I’m Jess. This is my first post for the Lansing Collective. I’m an instructional designer, a 2010 Lansing Chamber of Commerce Ten Over the Next Ten recipient, a TEDxLansing organizer, and several times a week I beat the living heck out of my friends in the name of sportsmanship.  Perhaps I should rephrase that first sentence. Hi there. I’m Addie Mortem, #93 of the Lansing Derby Vixens.

Here’s the thing about roller derby: it’s more than a sport. Don’t even know what derby is? Watch this video to get the gist. What you don’t realize is this: when you’re asking me

Not giggling during photo shoots is the biggest challenge in roller derby. Photo by Jena McShane

whether I punch girls in the face, or if I’ve broken any bones, I’m happy to talk about it. But what I really want to be telling you about is what a positive force in the community my teammates and friends are. I want to tell you about the thousands of dollars we’ve been able to raise for charities like EVE, Gateway Community Services and the Capital Area Humane Society. I want to tell you how much fun my derby sisters, brothers and I have had this summer volunteering for events like Be a Tourist in Your Own Town, the Hawk Island Triathlon, Ele’s Race, Max’s Race, Potter Park Zoo’s Wild One Run and Relay for Life. I want you, in your encounters with the Lansing Derby Vixens, to feel the heart-swelling joy we feel when we hear not only “Great win, ladies” but also “Hey! Wow, you guys have really been volunteering all over this summer!”

Our volunteering tasks are varied. At the DeWitt public library, we told stories to kids at story time. For the Wild One Run? We cheered on future athletes as they ran the race. I was at the halfway point of the course, and it was amazing to see what a little encouragement could do to motivate the tired, straggling children as they worked so hard to get the best time possible on their mile. Making them laugh, or seeing them speed up when we told them they should keep trying so they could be Vixens themselves one day was amazing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll gladly chat about the adrenaline, the pain, the hard work, and the

Cake fight to celebrate our one year birthday, May 2011! Photo by Kevin Fowler

time I broke a girl’s collarbone. I’ll go on until I’m blue in the face about our first season’s 6-2 (so far) record, and how we’re so proud to be surprising leagues throughout the midwest with our level of play.  Why? Because when we win we win for Lansing. When we lose, we show the other team that Lansing embodies class and sportsmanship. When we win an afterparty, we win it for Lansing, because we want people to know what a warm, embracing community we represent.

So, what’s the point of this over-wrought, weepy-emotional-sappy post? It’s this: how can the Vixens help? Where should we be? What are the causes that are important to you? The #lovelansing movement is the heart and soul of our mission. Please pipe up in the comments below, let us know how you can help us share your visions for Lansing. Help us bring it home.

You still have one more chance to see the Vixens in action at home in 2011. Dazed and Contused: The Lansing Derby Vixens versus NEO Roller Derby takes place this Saturday at the Lansing Center. Come check it out, and as you’re watching the action know that there’s so much more than booty blocking and hard hitting happening beneath the surface.