Young women in Greater Lansing have a new alternative when it comes to sports and fitness. The Lansing Derby Vixens announced today the addition of a junior roller derby program — the Lansing Junior Vixens — to their family of teams. The new program, Lansing’s only such program, includes the skaters, coaches and officials from the former Capital City Wild Childs, and will be accepting new skaters and officials immediately.
The program comprises an “A” team, the Lansing Junior Vixens All-Stars, and a “B” team, the Lansing Junior Vixens Miskits.
The Miskits will have their debut as the opening game of a doubleheader on Saturday, June 14 with the Vixens developmental adult team, the Old Town Beat Down. The games will be held at Aim High sports complex in Dimondale.
While flat-track roller derby has largely been an adult sport, there has been a surge in junior participation over the last several years. Junior derby typically includes skaters ranging in age from 8-17 and uses a modified set of rules that allows skaters of varied ages to play a contact sport together safely.
Vixens President Teresa Zwemer said that junior roller derby was a logical next step for the Vixens as they continue to grow and that the acquisition of the new junior teams is a huge boost for everyone.
“There are so many reasons why this is such a great opportunity,” she said. “Just like young people learning to play soccer or baseball, junior roller derby skaters are the future of our sport. Many of these skaters have as much experience as most adult derby skaters. When they finally turn 18 and can play on adult teams, they’re going to be way ahead of the curve.”
Zwemer added that both teams will benefit from a business standpoint, as well.
“The Vixens have seen great success over the last few years and we’re on track for continued growth. Similarly, this junior team is incredibly strong and has a great foundation on which we can build,” she said. “This partnership allows us to pool our resources and help each other in ways neither of us could do on our own.”
Sean Hiatt, coach of the Junior Vixens, echoed Zwemer’s statements, adding that he’s especially excited to bring more opportunities to the young women he coaches.
“We are so thrilled to be taking our program to the next level,” he said. “The Vixens are one of the state’s premier teams and our junior skaters will have the opportunity to learn from and grow with them.
While junior roller derby is a competitive sport, skaters learn more than how to compete. Parents of junior skaters often note the positive changes they see in their young people who participate, both on and off the track, including more confidence and a better body image.
Similarly, Zwemer noted that the Lansing Derby Vixens are committed to providing a positive, empowering and fun atmosphere for junior skaters, with an emphasis on sportsmansnship and safety.
“For us, the off-the-track benefits of roller derby are just as important as what happens on the track,” she said. “Training the best junior roller derby skaters in the state means building skaters who believe in themselves and their teammates, and who recognize the value of kindness, integrity and respect for others.”
“We intend to build these young women into tomorrow’s leaders,” she added.
Michigan has several other junior roller derby teams, including the Atomic Cupcakes in Brighton, the Darlings of Destruction in Rochester Hills and the Damsel Dolls from southwest Michigan. Michigan junior roller derby teams are members of the Junior Roller Derby Association and compete in-state and regionally.
The Junior Vixens are recruiting new skaters and officials. Parents of anyone between the ages of 8 and 17 interested in joining may contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.