It’s back! New roller-derby league glides into region

By Bob Jackson

YOUNGSTOWN – Amber Stewart might look like a mild-mannered soccer mom, but don’t make her mad or she just might knock you over the rail.

They don’t call her Brute Sixty-Kix for nothing.

Stewart, of Bessemer, Pa., is one of the members of the newly formed Little Steel Derby Girls, a flat-track roller derby league being formed here.

“We are the first and only all-women’s flat track roller derby league in Youngstown,” said Stewart, 28, a housewife and mother of two.

And if you thought roller derby was just some back-to-the-70s retro TV programming, you’d better think again.

“Roller derby is back,” said Stewart. “It’s huge in big cities. We were basically the only big town around that didn’t have a team. Until now.”

Tifany Griffith of Enon Valley, Pa., started in November 2008 with getting the league organized after she heard an advertisement for a league in another city.

“I never saw [roller derby] before. Never heard of it,” said Griffith, who goes by the derby name Ground Zero. “I started looking into it and thought it really looked like a lot of fun.”

Griffith, 28, works in Canfield doing civil design and engineering work. To spread the word about her fledgling league, she used social networking tools like MySpace and Facebook, trying to recruit young women into the program.

Griffith hopes to ultimately register the league with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, which is the sport’s governing body. Once that happens, teams from the local league will be able to compete against teams from other areas, like Akron, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.

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