(Left) Lauren Stang, Hallock, Minn., at only 4’5” has made some strides in the sport of roller derby. (Right) Lauren Stang in action on the derby court. Lauren became a member of the Forx Sugar Beaters team in 2015. (Photo submitted)
By Linda Andersen
Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members each who are on roller skates. A Hallock resident Lauren Stang is a member of the Forx Sugar Beaters Roller Team of Grand Forks.
Stang’s father Jeff Reese reported on a recent game where Stang’s abilities were recognized: “They had a match with Aberdeen, S.D. in which Forx won and Lauren was named MVP (Most Valuable Player) for that match. What makes that more interesting is that Lauren is only 4’5” and 100 pounds.”
A visit with Stang revealed more about the roller derby sport and the petite athlete. According to Stang, the point of the game is “to score as many points as possible.”
“A person on the team wears a star. They try to get through the pack of players. For every person on the opposing team that they pass they get a point,” she explained. The teams skate counter-clockwise around a track.
Further conversation revealed that Stang is a jammer – a person on the team that wears a star.
Although only five members from a team play at a time, they make good use of the 13 or 14 members who are typically on the roster. “It gets really exhausting,” she said.
“It is getting more and more common,” she said of the sport which her team plays on a flat track, but which is sometimes played on a sloped track.
How did she get interested in roller derby? She said she went to a “bout” (game) while living in Fargo and started playing in that city in 2013. In 2015, she “made the team” in Grand Forks.
Stang has played softball and volleyball in the past, though, as a parent of a three year old son and certified nursing assistant at the local nursing home, roller derby is the only sport that currently fits in her schedule.
The Forx Sugar Beaters hold two, two-hour practices a week. In the summers they practice at the Blue Line Club, which is a hockey arena in Grand Forks, and in the winters, at the Crookston Armory. They hold their local games, which are played from April through August, at the Blue Line Club. They have played teams from such places as Aberdeen, Eveleth, Minot, and Mankato. Some women have gone to “mixers” up in Winnipeg, Stang said.
On a personal note, Stang attended Kittson Central for a time during her high school years. She later attended and graduated from the University of North Dakota with a B.A. degree in psychology and English and a minor in social work. “Ideally I’d like to work in social work,” she said.
“I crochet a lot. I love to read. I love reality T.V.,” she said in regard to her interests outside of athletics.
Although Stang is a petite person, she said people from small to large play the game. And, people of many ages, from age 18 and up, play the game. A woman in her 70s played with the Sugar Beaters last season.
Will Stang still be playing when she’s in her 70s? It’s unlikely, she said. “It’s hard on the joints.” However, she probably will be playing for quite some time. “It’s addicting…I miss it when I don’t play.”
Lauren Stang as she makes her way around the track.