Woman starting roller derby team here
Rayne Rabe practices a crossover move at North Dam Park’s skatepark last week. — Scott Hunter photo
For Rayne Rabe, a distinct connection exists between belting out a tune and barreling through your opposition. Practicing one has given her the ability to do the other.
Before moving to Coulee Dam in July, Rabe had earned a reputation by another name, “Chick Norris, Derby Rayne-ger.”
That was in Orange County, Calif ., where she rolled with the Orange County Roller Girls roller derby team.
Now she can’t wait to start a team here.
Demonstrating her moves last week at the skate park in Grand Coulee, Rabe puffs visible breath in the cold through a broad smile. “I love skating,” she says, out of breath, coasting with her hands on her knees.
She’s out of shape, hasn’t been on skates since November when she last skated with one of the other regional teams from Wenatchee, Spokane or Coeur d’Alene.
At 27, Rayne, with her husband Josh Rabe, has settled into the coulee. He’s a network architect for Coulee Medical Center where she also works scheduling appointments. She played her guitar and sang Christmas songs at CMC’s open house event in December.
But like many twenty- and thirtysomethings moving into the area, they notice a less than overwhelming choice of things to do, especially in winter.
Rayne’s got plans to help fix that, initially just for women 18 and over who would like to experience roller derby, or at least just skate.
She had her introduction to the one of the fastest growing sports in the country in 2009, when she saw her first derby.
“I was like, wow!” she recalls. And she met one of the top derby athletes, Poison Ivy. She was hooked.
She got her first pair of skates and was practicing in a month. A month later, she was skating.
Since then, she says, she’s learned much about a sport that’s not at all the rough and tumble gratuitous female fighting from an earlier era. Teams don’t hate each other, they support each other.
“You have instant friends and a whole league that will support you,” she says.
Before she got involved in roller derby, Rayne says, she was a couch potato. Singing at church was about as physical as it got.
The sport pits two teams against each other at high speeds on skates. Modern roller derby takes place on a flat track, where five team members maneuver so one of them can pass the other team’s five. It involves lots of strategy, and lots of rules.
By the time Rabe left California, there were 300 people in the her league, which she helped build as a social media coordinator. There were junior teams and men’s teams, too. It became a family pastime.
And Rabe noticed a side benefit. Singing in church, she wasn’t afraid to sing loudly, taking the melody to her brothers’ harmony.
“It’s left me with confidence in myself,” she says, “and taught me to be fearless.”
Now she wants to help others make such connections in the coulee.
She was trained by the best (Dirty Debra Harry) in California and has trained more than 100 skaters herself, she says. So she can train skaters here, for free. She’s just doing it for the love of the sport.
Rabe is starting the “Grand Coulee Derby Dames” and recruiting for skaters. She’s set up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GrandCouleeDerbyDames. In its first two days online, the page gathered more than 100 “likes” and two team sponsors.
Those other regional teams are ready to travel to coulee to put on a scrimmage and help recruit, she told the Coulee Area Park and Recreation District commission last week. And for women who would like to skate just for the exercise without the derby part, she’ll offer a “Fit, No Hit” skating class.
The commissioners gave her an enthusiastic reception.