The Buzz caught up with Country Club Park resident Lizzy Vuckovich, and her mom Amy, to talk about the upcoming Junior Roller Derby tournament this weekend in Gardena. The SoCal Shakedown starts Friday and runs through Sunday at the ACD Warehouse.
Lizzy, who skates as “Electra Shock,” (her middle name is Electra — it comes from the name of the town in Texas where mom is from) couldn’t wait to join the team when she was old enough at the age of seven. Now thirteen, Lizzy loves skating and is thrilled to be part of the top five Junior Roller Derby teams in the country.
“I’ve really gotten better at skating,” explained Vuckovich. “I used to be lazy, but I got determined to get better and my coach really helps push me to do more.”
Roller Derby sometimes gets a bad rap, acknowledged the Vuckoviches, but that’s because people don’t really understand the sport. It’s a contact sport, dominated by all-female amateurs, that’s been around since the 1940s. Game play consists of a series of short match ups (jams), in which both teams designate a jammer who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to hinder the opposing jammer while assisting their own jammer—in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously. The Jammer can be spotted by the star on her helmet. Junior Roller Derby is relatively new, but it’s gaining popularity as more young girls learn about it.
“There’s a lot of rules, so you can’t hit anyone. We wear pads and protective equipment and it’s really good exercise,” explained Lizzy. “There are five positions on the team in each jam, four blockers and one jammer. There’s a lot of strategy that you use to win, and you the more times you go around, the more you can score, winning a point for every opponent you pass.”
“I just love it and I love my team,” said Lizzy, adding, “everyone plays every position and there’s a lot of team bonding. I know more and more girls who are interested in playing.”
The Junior Derby league is open to girls ages 7-17. Angel City Junior Derby practices Saturdays from 8am -12pm in Gardena, and Sunday from 8am-12pm or 10:30- 12 noon. Interested skaters can drop in the practices for $10.
“There’s lots of equipment you can borrow or rent, but you need to bring your own mouthguard,” said Amy.
Angel City Junior Derby (ACJD) is hosting the inaugural SoCal Shakedown, featuring the top 5 Junior Roller Derby teams in the country as determined by the Junior Roller Derby Association. Participants will be Santa Cruz Derby Girls, Seattle Derby Brats, Inland Northwest Roller Derby, Gotham Girls Junior Derby, and the Angel City A-Listers. The first game is Friday at 7 pm. Tickets are still available on the Angel City website.
Lizzy and her mom promised to share photos and updates from the tournament, so check the Buzz for more on Lizzy “Electra Shock” Vuckovich!