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*Kel*Fire*Warrior*

by Kelly *Warrior* Ignatoski

Supporting: Madison Roller Derby Venue Fund for Mad Rollin' Dolls, Inc.

My Team: Unholy Rollers

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“Roller Derby saved my Soul.” “Roller Derby can save the World.” For some, these are just cliché’s and catch-phrases. For me, I regularly see people across my league, living these as truth. Here’s my story:  



 

Roller Derby had always been a sport that sounded fascinating and fun to me, but also one that I had never done anything about; until a new coworker told me about the Mad Wreckin’ Dolls, the recreational team here in Madison (now called Wreckers). I was going through a phase of life where my motto was “go big or go home”…. So when she told me I could learn to play this sport, I immediately knew I had to at least try it out. I didn’t think my knees would allow me to last for very long, but I went to my first practice, having never even seen the game played. I vividly remember turning to someone with shock when the practice leader asked us to sit down on the floor, and then get up again. On Roller Skates!!!! Clearly I had no idea what I was in for!

   

 

 Later that spring, some friends and I went to watch a game. One said, “So this is the sport you’re going to play?” And I responded with, “Apparently, yes. Yes I am!” I wasn’t fast, and some skills took me forever to learn – but after a few weeks of meeting great people and trying to learn a new sport, *on roller skates* as an almost 40yr-old woman, I was hooked. I have made lifelong friends while learning how to skate and fall down; watched so many women feel empowered and strong learning how to roller skate and play this complicated game; I’ve cheered for fellow skaters on and off the track; and developed a huge appreciation for all the officials and volunteers who help us be able to play this game.  

 



 

Turns out, this sport, and the endorphins it provides, is addictive. I knew I had to try out for one of Madison’s four home teams when I wanted to do more than just have fun while playing games; I wanted to win, and I wanted to get better. I wanted to skate and stop faster. I wanted to learn how to give and take harder hits. I knew I wanted to see how far my body would let me go. I started identifying as an Athlete. And so I tried out. . . and I didn’t make it. And it was okay, because I realized I wanted it, but not with everything I had. So I tried out again, and gave it my all. And I didn’t get drafted, and I was truly heartbroken. But for those of you that know me, I am stubborn persistent, so I didn’t give up. I kept trying and working hard and cross training. And the next fall when I tried out for a team, I made it.

 


 I’m now going in to my third season as an Unholy Roller. I had to take some serious time off to deal with a knee injury. My first sports med doctor told me I should retire from roller derby, because it wasn’t worth it, “unless I was making millions of dollars like an NFL player.” He ended that appointment by saying, “well, sometimes patients prove me wrong.” I knew then and there I was going to do everything in my power to do just that, because he didn't get to tell me whether or not playing my sport was worth it.  I rested, did a million physical therapy exercises, eased into a workout regimen with the help of my PT, hired a personal trainer, fell in love with weight training, and worked my way back onto the track with my team.

 

I don’t know how long I’ll be able to play this beautiful sport, that challenges both the mind and the body, but I’m going to do everything I can to keep trying. That includes this ask of you, my friends and family. Many of you have been supportive along this journey, coming to my very first Wreckers ‘Friends & Family’ event, where I showcased my new skating skills at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. Or those that attended my first public game as a Wrecker. And those that come and cheer us on at home bouts, buy our team merchandise, and come to our promotional events around town. I really appreciate all of your encouragement and support. I couldn’t do this without you!

              

     




Here's the ask for more support from you, my friends and family. Our league practices in a space that is not going to last forever (like the cartilage in my knees, unfortunately). This fundraiser is to raise enough money to build our own practice facility. The ultimate dream is to have a space we can practice and play games in. Every little bit counts. Please consider making a donation to our non-profit to help us raise money to build our own space, A Home to Hang Our Skates.  I have personally committed to being a monthly, sustaining donor. Any contribution from you will help us reach our goal.  


Madison Roller Derby is a league with deep community roots. Skaters volunteer at events throughout the year. Below are some pictures from some of my favorite community events & volunteer opportunities: 



    

 

My other teams in the league: 

 

 Team Unicorn


 Dairyland Dolls, 2017-18 Bench Coach

Photos* by the very talented: Douglas Otto/Papa-Razzi, Andrew Wagle, Paul/PreFlash Gordon, and Callie Strouf

*Photos used with permission by photographers


Thanks to all of your support, we have built a lasting legacy of roller derby in Madison.  Over the past 18 years, we moved from rope lights at Fast Forward Skate Center to hosting (and skating in!) WFTDA playoffs at Alliant Energy Center's Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  Unfortunately, our growth has stopped short  due to constraints on space and accessibility, and our current practice space is slated for demolition and redevelopment within the next 6 months.  We need your help to raise enough money to keep skating in a new space in Madison. 


With our own facility, we can bring our fans more roller derby games and events, relaunch a Junior training program, and support more local organizations. Most importantly, we can keep skating in Madison!  Win-win-win for everyone. 
 


Our success over the past 18 years has been based in grassroots growth -- and we will maintain this grassroots philosophy even in our fundraising.  To move forward, we need a minimum of $600,000 to secure commercial funding and secure a facility for the foreseeable future.  Additional needs include $150,000 to secure comfortable seating for our fans to watch our games.

 

We believe we can accomplish this through a combination of traditional single donations plus a sustaining donor system.  

  • If you can't give $100 to help us out today, can you sign up for $10/month, auto-deducted from your bank or a card?
  • If you can't donate $500, can you pledge $50/month instead?
  • If your business can't contribute $2,000 today, perhaps you can sign on for $200 per month instead

    Sustainable giving is a great way to help more, even if you can't give big donations right now, and we are a non-profit, so every dollar is fully tax deductible!  


No amount is too small (or too large!).  The key to our success will be a grassroots aggregate of regular, sustained giving as we finalize the plans and find a location.  Each donation is a rock of gravel that builds the foundation for a facility. 

 

Once we have secured a venue and it is self sustaining through events and ticket sales, your donations will then support a comprehensive, competitive Junior program, followed by a scholarship program.  Over time, additional donations will be directed toward improving our fan experience with things like better lighting and sound, and more events and activities.


With that, I would like to ask you to please sign on now to donate any amount you are able. Please invite your friends and family to do the same, and share our news as far and wide as you can.  We want everyone to feel empowered to support us, so feel free to choose a preset amount or enter $1 or whatever you can give in the box on the donate screen.  Every bit helps.


Thank you for your endless support and love!

Wendy Wilbur AKA. Allie Gator
Executive Director
Madison Roller Derby

About Us: 
As a local 501(c)(3) organization,  Madison’s premier roller derby league, and one of the founding leagues of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Assosication (WFTDA), MRD has paved the way for hundreds of other leagues across the country and around the globe. We’ve grown from four home teams to include two travel teams (Dairyland Dolls all-stars and Team Unicorn ). We hosted the 2016 WFTDA Playoffs, created a recreational roller derby team (Wreckers Madison Roller Derby), and all while maintaining our dedication to our community through countless hours of outreach with over a hundred local organizations.  

 

It is the mission of Mad Rollin’ Dolls, Inc. to provide a safe, inclusionary space to foster the development of a competitive women’s flat track roller derby athletic program, build leadership skills through volunteer opportunities, and make a positive impact in our community by serving as role models for our peers and future generations.


For more information on our capital campaign, please visit: madisonrollerderby.org/our-home/ 



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