News: Fitness, fun, family: intel analyst finds passion in roller derby
Story by Sgt. Angel Turner
FORT HOOD, Texas - With only street lights illuminating the crisp night air, she straps on her knee pads, ties up her roller skates, and mentally prepares for the next two hours.
Her extracurricular activity provides additional physical training, an extended family, and from time to time, a bruise or two, a black eye, or an injured tailbone.
And she said enjoys every minute of it.
An all source intelligence analyst assigned to Intelligence and Security Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, Sgt. Tara LeDore laces her skates three times a week to train with the Femme Fatale Roller Dolls, a roller derby group in Killeen, Texas.
“You’re so focused on the job during the day – taking care of soldiers and accomplishing the mission - that once the work day is complete, it’s like you need something to either take out your frustrations that you’ve accumulated during the day or something to unwind or just help you think about something else,” said LeDore, a native of Milford, Conn.
With a widespread grin, LaDore added, “You get to knock people down, so that helps with taking out your aggression, and it helps with your PT.”
Growing up, LeDore participated in gymnastics and dabbled in softball. On occasions like birthday parties, she would don a pair of skates.
At the age of 10, she received her very own pair of skates, but an unfortunate event quickly turned the fun of skating into a faint memory.
“I accidentally rolled through dog poop, and I was too much of a wuss to clean them off myself, so I hid them in the backyard,” she said. “They rusted. I grew out of them and pretty much never skate after that until I joined the team.”
Now trying to master skating all over again, she admits the main thing that goes though her head during practice is “don’t fall down.”
“I watched a friend play and fell in love with the sport,” said LeDore, who has only played with the roller derby team for a few months now.
Given the roller derby name "Colt RevolveHer" by her coach, LeDore has already made a lasting impression on him.
“She’s determined — that’s for sure,” said Matthew Perez, coach of the Femme Fatale Roller Dolls. “She’s also a quick thinker. When Tara gets her foot skills and speed down, she’s going to be a beast on the track.”
Perez said being a beast on the track is a good thing. He describes "Colt RevolveHer" as a bull who sees red.
“She’s tenacious,” he said. “If she sets her mind to something, she is going to get it done.”
Aside from her tenacious frame of mind, Perez said LeDore’s athletic build is just what the team needs.
In the sport of roller derby pushing and shoving comes with the game, so having some strength on hand is a sure way to kill the rabbit, Perez said.
The rabbit is the player with two stars on her helmet.
“The rabbit is the only one who is capable of scoring points and is your only threat,” added Perez.
The team of roughly 20 players has provided an additional perk for the intelligence analyst — family.
The group members not only share knowledge about the sport with each other but also take an interest in each other’s well-being.
“It’s like I joined the team and all of a sudden gained this new group of friends,” said LeDore. “We became integrated right away.”
A soldier for almost five years, the novice player understands the importance of camaraderie, teamwork and togetherness.
“That’s the beauty of the sport. The camaraderie is awesome,” said LeDore about the team, which is composed of soldiers, current and prior; spouses of soldiers; and local residents.
She added, “You’re out there with your sisters.”
Transitioning into the winter months, practicing outside in the evening has taken a toll on all of the team members, including LeDore. Although many of her teammates did not make a few of the practice sessions because they were sick, LeDore, an asthmatic, showed up.
“She’s the only one out here that is really sick,” said Perez, who is also the league trainer for United Rollers Femme Fatale. “She doesn’t quit. If she isn’t dying, she’ll keep going.”
“Because I love it. I love the game,” said LeDore.
She said hopes to earn a starting position on the team when competition season starts in February.