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Proud to be Golddiggers: Local women form roller derby team for fitness and camaraderie

Team seeks more members
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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Stacey Marquez was getting tired of hiding in her house.


The 47-year-old Auburn woman, who was diagnosed with severe kidney and pancreatic disease, was trying to get moving again.


Marquez, who has been in the mortgage business for 25 years in Placer and Nevada counties, tried emailing the Roseville and Sacramento roller derby teams to inquire about joining their squads. But neither team responded.


As fate would have it, Marquez found another Auburn woman, Linda Habay, 50, on Craigslist under a post “Who wants to skate roller derby?”


Habay, like, Marquez, was experiencing health issues and had undergone gastric bypass surgery. The two connected and decided to form a roller derby team of their own, the Auburn Golddiggers.


“Initially I was disappointed they didn’t call back,” Marquez said of the Roseville and Sacramento teams. “I asked them to let me hang out with them. They never responded. When we started the (Auburn) team, they both responded. They were excited and said, ‘We’d scrimmage against you.’”


The Golddiggers, a team of about 12 women ranging in age from 21 to 50 on quad skates, had their first-ever practice on May 2. They skate every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Placer Hall Building Gold Country Fairgrounds.


The team operates as a nonprofit and plans to hold fundraisers throughout the year for a to-be-determined organization.


Habay serves as the president of the team and Marquez is the vice president. Jessica Zagaris, who skated for the Sac City Rollers for four years, is the coach.


The fairgrounds sponsors the team and allows them to practice in the hall for free.
The Golddiggers are currently looking for more skaters as they prepare for next year’s season. Ideally, the team would like to reach 14 members even though it needs only eight for a bout. Extra players are beneficial when it comes to penalties and timeouts. 

 
The team had to give their nationwide league, USARS (USA Roller Sports), a one year notice to join. So the Golddiggers won’t have their first bout until next year.


There aren’t many requirements to join the team, other than that skaters must be at least 18 years old, pay $45 for insurance and have a creative alter-ego nickname.

“We’ve got some other women who have health issues, but we’re not ready to lay down and die yet,” said Marquez, who goes by the ring name of Cheap Shot Cheri.

 “We have other healthy women that will get out there and kick the crap out of you and think nothing of it. We’re a diverse group.”


No prior experience is required.


“We’re all fresh meat,” Marquez said.


The sport is also a great form of exercise.


“It’s good for weight loss and women that want to tone up,” Habay said.


As Marquez pointed out, the insurance is necessary in case you “freaking get hurt.”

 Knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, a skate boarder’s helmet and a mouth guard are a must. The equipment costs about $200.


The team even has a Bruise of the Month award and injury list, which Cupcake Beatdown is currently on after she hurt her tailbone.


“I’ve been the winner of that one month,” Marquez said of the bruise award. “That’s all you hope for.”


Other members of the Golddiggers include Minnie Malice (the coach), Rib Stitch (Wendy Mackinnon), Lune E. Tune (who wishes to remain anonymous) and Big Boss Lin (Habay).


“Everybody in the league is creative,” said Cheap Shot Cheri, who wanted the moniker Cheri Bomb but it was already taken. “They have to be registered and can’t be too much alike.”


The Golddiggers are also considering starting a junior league, which could be called the Little Nuggets or Brat Pack.


When the Golddiggers finally start to compete, they’ll go against teams from Reno, Merced and Modesto.


Maybe they’ll even get the privilege of being in the same ring as Roseville and Sacramento.
But for now, they’re busy practicing on stamina, hitting and falling.

 
“When you’re working out doing a roller derby workout, there’s nothing else to focus on,” said Marquez, who considers the sport a release. “It’s great camaraderie with derby sisters. What we really love about it is the community loves it.”

To learn more about the Auburn Golddiggers, call 845-5956 or email info@auburngolddiggers.com


Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel