Erin McGill, A.K.A. “Teachy McKill,”is among the members of the North Country Lumber Jills roller derby team preparing for a bout against the Twin City Riots this Saturday, Oct. 29.
Teachy McKill here, teacher by day and derby killer by night, getting ready to school you on one of my favorite topics — roller derby! There’s much excitement and anticipation surrounding the North Country Lumber Jills’ upcoming bout against Twin City Riot from Barre, Vt. My team is feverishly practicing, training, and planning our first home bout, “Night of the Rolling Dead.”
To give you some background, the North Country Lumber Jills were formed over a year ago and have been making steady progress ever since. My friends and I were inspired by the Green Mountain Derby Dames from Burlington, Vt. After watching one of their bouts, we fell in love with the sport, female athleticism, and roller derby culture. As soon as we left the bout, we knew Plattsburgh needed a roller derby team. It has taken a massive amount of dedication, planning, and teamwork to build our team from scratch. We started with a handful of women sitting around a table at the Koffee Kat, and now we have a room full of women and men in the upstairs meeting space of the North Country Co-Op. Currently, our team consists of 25 women skaters and two men who referee. It has been amazing to be a part of this team from the beginning and see how much we’ve flourished.
Our team has an array of members coming from all walks of life and varying athletic backgrounds. This team has become like a second family to all of us and I have the utmost respect for all of our members. Derby is so much more than putting some quad skates on your feet and rolling around a track; we are all very passionate about the sport, our friendships, and the team we’ve created together. Everyone on our team wants to be successful, have fun and live a healthier life.
If you ask anyone who knows me — friends, family, co-workers, past teachers and coaches — they will all tell you I’ve always marched to the tune of a different drummer. I take pride in my uniqueness and feel derby has been a perfect extension of how I have always lived my life — a little out of the ordinary!
As I gear up to play roller derby and take on my alternate personality I giggle to think about the two very different roles I have. During the day, I teach first grade and love my profession; I get to be kind and gentle. Then, in the evening, I go and play roller derby, where I’m expected to hit people hard and be loud! The two parallel each other in some ways, because both let me be in a position where I can have fun, be silly, and work collaboratively. My clothing and accessories are always bold and full of life in school and on the track, whether I’m wearing a glow-in-the-dark solar system shirt to school when I’m teaching about outer space or I’m putting on my bright colored knee-high socks with funky patterns for derby practice! Derby has become so ingrained in my life that it’s hard to imagine life without it. I often joke about how before doing derby my Friday nights consisted of me sitting on my couch, eating take-out, correcting papers. Now, my Friday nights consist of me practicing roller derby skills and hits with a group of amazing women! In many ways, roller derby has helped me grow into a more positive, stronger, and healthier woman and I will be forever grateful to have been a part of such an amazing team.
Our team has started to thrive because we all work together to create a positive and supportive environment. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing community. Numerous businesses and community members have helped our team in the form of sponsorships, donations, purchasing ad space in our bout programs, hosting an event, and renting us a practice space. Our community has showed our team so much respect and an astounding amount of support. As part of our mission statement, we strive to give back to our community and promote healthy lifestyles. We have been involved with multiple organizations to help raise money and promote awareness for various causes. We are proud to be part of the Plattsburgh community and feel honored to represent this area and its people.
This past summer, we traveled to different parts of New York and Vermont to play against other “up and coming” roller derby teams. Although traveling and playing roller derby is always fun, we are thrilled to have a home bout our local fans and supporters can come watch. Come check us out this Saturday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. in the City Recreation Gym. Tickets are available on-line at www.plattsburghroller.com. Presale ticket prices are $10 for ages 13 and older, $5 for 7 to 12-year-olds, and free for kids 6 and younger. Come ready for some derby action and we’ll make sure to give you the best roller derby experience in the North Country!
The team is gearing up for its first home bout Saturday, Oct. 29, at the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Center against the Twin City Riot, a team from Barre, Vt.