Trina Anderson, the member services coordinator at the Independence Chamber of Commerce, can strike up a conversation with just about anyone.
In her role, she regularly attends city events like the annual Community Cleanup Day, chamber golf tournaments and membership luncheons. Yet few would guess how she developed her outgoing spirit: Anderson competes on the local roller derby league, Fountain City Roller Derby.
“People are like, ‘Whoa, that’s interesting. I never would’ve had any clue.’ Then, they want to learn more,” Anderson says. “It’s definitely helped me build relationships. I also have more confidence.”
In fact, this confidence led Anderson -- who goes by the name “Devil Doll” on the track -- to become captain of her team, The Lovely Lethals. It’s an unexpected move from someone whose original goal was merely to make it through bootcamp.
Anderson’s roller derby involvement began as an idea on her bucket list. Finally, after years of wanting to join, she got drafted as a member of The Lovely Lethals. She recalls thinking that if she lasted one year, that would be enough -- she could cross off the bullet point.
Now, she’s in her fourth year, and what started as an after-work pastime stands out as a major part of her life. She practices twice a week and has a game monthly or bimonthly. Anderson characterizes the team as a “crazy, tight-knit family” that encourages each other and exudes loyalty.
According to her teammates, Anderson plays a key part in this dynamic. Tamela Kretzer, whose roller derby name is Tamale Ali, describes Anderson as “persistent” and “determined,” a motivating force. Liz Ruelas (Texas Outlaw) adds that Anderson is known for always laughing and making jokes.
While her fellow skaters have come to feel like a family, Anderson has also involved her actual family. Her husband serves as the coach. Similarly, her coworkers have shown their support at games, walking away with a newfound appreciation for Anderson and the sport itself.
Kristine Zerr, vice president and director of finance for the Chamber of Commerce, says Anderson’s involvement in roller derby taught her an important lesson about stereotypes. She recalls that her coworker, who she sums up as “sweet, down-to-earth and positive,” didn’t fit her perception of a roller derby player.
Likewise, Mikalene Evans, the chamber’s director of marketing and communications, got more than she bargained for when she attended Anderson’s home-opener.
“The event was quite entertaining, and for a quick minute I thought to myself, ‘I can totally do this,’” Evans remembers.
“Then, in the blink of an eye, a player went down with a broken leg. The bout was put on hold so the paramedics could come and carry the skater off on a gurney. That’s when I said, ‘I’m out!’”
Despite risks like these, including a concussion that temporarily sidelined her, Anderson maintains that the contact sport has helped her get out frustration in a constructive way. For now, she has no plans to stop.
The reasoning is simple, Anderson emphasizes.
“I love to skate. Even when I’m not doing roller derby, I will always skate.”
If you go:
The Lovely Lethals play the last Saturday of the month at the B&D South Skate Center in Independence. Their next game is at 6:30 p.m. June 30. It’s free for those under 18 and $12 for adults.