ShareThis Page

Fun fuels the ladies of Pittsburgh East Roller Villains

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media

Pittsburgh East Roller Villians team members spot Melanie Marietta during warm up exercises before practice on August 6 at Center Ice in Delmont.
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media Pittsburgh East Roller Villians team members spot Melanie Marietta during warm up exercises before practice on August 6 at Center Ice in Delmont.

Call it the sisterhood of the traveling skates.

They come to Delmont from Hunker and Harrison City, Squirrel Hill and other parts of Pittsburgh twice a week to check, skate and let off some steam all in the name of a sport called roller derby.

“We're more of a family, a sisterhood where we're all about encouragement,” said Annamarie Marietta, of Hunker, one of the organizers of Pittsburgh East Roller Villains, or PERV, the area's only coed recreational roller derby league.

“We have a lot of moms who have put in their time sitting in rinks and ball fields. This is their time.”

Saturday marks the team's first home bout at Murrysville SportZone, where they will take on “Nightmares on Main Street,” an Erie County-based women's roller derby team.

The 18 women of PERV call Murrysville home, except during summer months, when they relocate to Center Ice in Delmont. The group formed last October and tries to have one bout — a match against another recreational team — once each month.

Roller derby is where camp and athletics meet. Players typically adopt an alter-ego — “Trackstabber” is Marietta's most recent character — to skate and check one another on a flat track.

Hannah Leonard, 30, of Jeannette, enjoys both as “50 Shades of Blood.”

“I like the athletic part and being part of a group where you know they've all got your back,” Leonard said. “My name sounds badass, but I'm not. I try to be solid on the track. There, I have a big mouth, but I'm quiet off the track.”

There is no “type” of person who plays roller derby, Marietta said. Real-estate agents, librarians and bank executives are members of the team, Marietta said.

The only real requirement is that you're there for fun. That's what fuels Marietta.

“When I'm on the track, get out of the way. I love to hit my friends,” she said. “I feel like a rock star. You just feel like a superstar, doing something that most of your friends aren't doing.”

Christina Pence grew up as an athlete, playing softball and basketball. But there's not a lot of recreational sports options for adult women, she said. She likes exercise but doesn't like a gym.

Roller derby was the perfect match, combining exercise with a team mentality.

“Everybody gets along, and there's no puppy kicking,” said Pence, 36, of Harrison City. “If somebody's car breaks down, you go get them.”

That's an important part of the experience for Marietta.

“I don't want anyone to ever be here and feel like they're not good enough,” she said. “If we're not having fun, we're not doing it right.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2365, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.