Back on the Track: Fort Wayne Roller Derby skates back into competition

Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 6:33 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The emerging COVID-19 pandemic shut down the operations of the Fort Wayne Derby Girls back in 2020.

That stoppage left a big mark on a lot of the team’s skaters, including president Lahapa Brown.

“I went through a huge depression,” Brown said. “Roller Derby was everything, and it was just immediately cut off.”

Even as the public health situation improved, roller derby’s future in Fort Wayne became uncertain.

“We questioned what it was going to come back as,” said Dan Sherman, team head coach. “If it was going to come back at all.”

Last year, the team began the process of returning to competition, now under the name ‘Fort Wayne Roller Derby,’ with the addition of a co-ed team.

The team finally got back on the track for real games in 2023, playing up in Muncie in February. On April 23rd, the team hosted its first home games in over three years.

“It was an unknown, but it worked out,” Brown said. “It was a little touch-and-go, the uncertainty was never fun, but we got through it.”

Fort Wayne Roller Derby will host its final home games of 2023 this Sunday (July 9th) at the SportONE Parkview Icehouse.

The juniors team will face Kalamazoo at 12pm, with an open gender adult game at 2pm, and a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) game at 4pm.