EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — With nicknames like Helen Bed and Ophelia Bones Break, these may not be the type of girls you introduce to your parents.
Unless, of course, mother likes to put on roller skates, elbow and knee pads and a helmet and knock the spit out of girls with nicknames like Helen Bed and Ophelia Bones Break.
Kim Hartman, a 36-year-old mother of three, did just that on Saturday during the B-Cup Brawl roller derby tournament. The legal secretary from Beachwood, Ocean County, whirled around the flat track, jamming opponents and getting knocked on her butt a few times, too.
While Hartman's children are too young to even start dating, Hartman said they know how she spends her leisure time and are at ease with a mom whose roller derby moniker is Bash N. Onya.
"It's nice to be the hero of the house," she said.
More than 50 women participated in the brawl at Spontaneous Sports on the Black Horse Pike. The tournament was primarily for roller derby women who do not get to skate with the professional A-league teams that draw the most attention. The participants came from as far as Massachusetts and Delaware, looking to have fun, pick up some roller derby pointers and perhaps get the chance to play with an A-league team.
"For me, I just wanted to do something different," said Alexandra Dashkevicz, president of Shore Points Roller Derby, a women's roller derby league primarily based in Ocean and Monmouth counties. "It's just a different way of life."
During the day, Dashkevicz — also known as Hell Kat Thrasher — manages a veterinary clinic in Manalapan. She is scheduled to start veterinary school shortly.
Women's roller derby flourised beginning in the 1930s. Large-scale fan interest waned in the 1970s.
Don Rogers, a coach with Shore Points Roller Derby, said the number of women roller derby participants has swelled nationally during the past five years from about 5,000 to more than 30,000. The women are looking for a nontraditional activity, he said, and coverage by cable networks such as ESPN helped spread interest.
The Women's Flat Track Derby Association is now one of the sport's major organizations.
Patty "Redneck Roller" Curran, of Ventnor, who just earned a spot as a "fresh meat player," or new player, on the association's Philly Roller Girl team, is a 44-year-old who has four children and a grandson. She was at Saturday's tournament, not to compete, but to help coach and cheer women who are struggling to make it in the sport.
"It's hard work," she said. "To make a team ,you really have to have the skating skill. It's an intense training program and an extreme workout. You get beat up a lot. It's not for everyone, that's for sure."
Massachusetts resident Stacey Anestis is a former stay-at-home mom turned landscape artist who turned to roller derby as a way to "get out of the house."
She admitted to being nervous Saturday: She has only only skated in roller derby for about two years and wanted to make a good impression.
LIke other roller derby women, the sport has already made an impression on her in the form of sprained fingers and a damage hip. The injuries are a sort of badge of honor for the participants, many of whom — including Anestis — take pictures of their first roller derby bruise as a souvenir.
What else could you expect from a woman also known as Vixen Ta Hitcha?