Vongsa ducks, dodges, falls down and gets back up, all before roller derby practice each week
As a 23-year-old, Orevia Vongsa encounters obstacles on the roller rink, workplace and at school.
Vongsa ducks, dodges, falls down and gets back up, all before roller derby practice each week. As an STLCC student working toward a career as a phlebotomist while holding down two part-time jobs, she still finds time to push and shove her way around the rink as a member of the Arch Rival Roller Girls (ARRG) league.
An athlete since the eighth grade, Vongsa has played volleyball, basketball and softball. She has been involved with roller derby in St. Louis since January. It is a sport that caught her eye one night in November 2009.
“In late November, a friend texted me [asking me] to go skating. I saw a bunch of ladies in gear and skates, rolling around the rink,” Vongsa said. “The skating was fast-paced and it looked very scary. I was so intrigued on how aggressive they collided into each other.”
She said she sent an e-mail to the ARRG and was accepted in 2011 after tryouts.
Vongsa said she plans to take the whole derby experience step by step by starting at the recreational level. She is currently a part time derby member looking to skate in the future with the St. Lunachix.
“Roller derby is the only sport that has truly challenged me and helped allow me be more myself. It brought me back as a competitor,” Vongsa said. “I love the physicality of it.”
As a member of the ARRG, Vongsa volunteers for charity organizations, such as Safe Connection, who help those in domestic violence surroundings. Just this past November, several skaters helped clean up trash around highway 55 near the Germania exit.
“I love my league. They are fun, eccentric and we care about our community, giving back as much as we can. These skaters in ARRG are unique. They are lawyers, teachers, accountants, mothers, students, scientists, designers, nurses and hard-working folks who love a sport that gives them a reason to represent our city of St. Louis, our league and themselves as individuals,” said Vongsa.
Photo/Audio Slideshow of Arch Rival Girls