Kids already pick up basketballs, tennis racquets, and softballs. But now in Sioux Falls you can add skates to the mix. A girls' roller skating team began as a summer camp but has gained so much momentum, organizers are making it official.
“They may not be the best skater out there but they're better than last week. And I want them to have that sense of pride you get from it,” Jayme Nelson said who kick started the league.
Nelson is a founding member of the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz women’s team. Injuries sidelined her from that activity, so Nelson decided to pass on her skills to an entirely new generation. In January the Sioux Falls Baby Dollz will take their place in competitive roller skating.
“I'm not very athletic so this is one sport I'm good at. So it's kind of like, yay!” team member Bailey Hagedorn said.
The girls are getting in plenty of practice team before they take the court for real. Each week they suit up take directions, learn the rules of the road, and Nelson says they learn some life lessons too.
“One of the things we've taught are boundaries in life for how you let others treat you and how you treat other people. And then we incorporate that on the track,” Nelson said.
“She taught us about courage. Like, you should just go out there and do it,” Hagedorn said.
The girls are well protected with helmets, wrist, shoulder, and elbow guards. They enjoy it. Parents don’t don't seem to mind the potentially-dangerous positions either.
“They teach them how to slide and how to stop, teach them how to fall correctly so they don't get hurt as bad,” mother Randi Murphy said.
But there is no doubt this sport is competitive. The competition is even combative. On the court they say that doesn't matter because it's fun too.
“What's the difference between juniors playing football other than we're girls?” Nelson asked. “I think girls should have the same outlets that boys can have. And it's fun.”
Nelson has two daughters on her team. But all these girls keep coming back week after week going around in circles, learning lessons, making friends.
“I just like that you can have fun and that we get to stay with other girls and that there's a league now,” team member Kilyn Finer said.
“I had a parent come up to me and say, can you talk about responsibility and homework? She listens to you and what you say!” Nelson said.
“It was saying don't be scared to fall because she taught us how to fall the right way” said Hagedorn.
The reality is that in life you do fall. Sometimes it's hard to pick yourself back up, so any experience learning how to do that helps.
The Baby Dollz practice every Thursday night in Sioux Falls. The team is also looking for sponsors to keep family costs low. You can find more information on the Roller Dollz website.