Luling realtor dons skates for full-contact roller derby team

Michelle Stuckey
November 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Teresa O誰eil is a member of the Big Easy Rollergirls team in New Orleans.
Michelle Stuckey/Herald Guide
Teresa O誰eil is a member of the Big Easy Rollergirls team in New Orleans.
When Luling realtor Teresa O誰eil is not selling homes, she is on eight wheels training to be the next competing member of the Big Easy Roller Girls.

The rollergirls are an all-female competition roller derby team. O誰eil, known as "Star-Ree Eyed Surprize" on the derby circuit, has been a member of the group since October 2010, but she has been interested in skating for much longer.

O誰eil grew up skating and always loved having birthday parties at the skating rink for herself, and later for her children.

Now she is taking her passion for skating to the next level and trying to make it to the competing ranks of the rollergirls.

"I知 trying to gain experience and stay on my skates without falling too much," she said.

In order to become a competing member of the team, O誰eil must go through assessments to prove she can perform a variety of stops, jumps, hits and more while on wheels.

The roller derby skill set includes speed, endurance, stopping, squatting, hopping, weaving, pushing and bumping – all while on skates.

But the first thing the women learn is how to fall, O誰eil said. From single- and double-knee basic falls to baseball slides and 180 degree turn falls – these skaters must know them all.

"You have to learn all of those skillsthen you have to be able to be hit and give a hit without losing your balance and falling," O誰eil said.

In addition to having fun, she said that the team helps her stay in great shape.

"I thought it would be the best workout for me – I have to be yelled at to work out," O誰eil said, laughing.

But competing is not the only highlight to being a rollergirl. The group appears in many events throughout the area, including the Krewe of Muses and Krewe of Adonis parades, Pussyfooter痴 Blush Ball, St. Andrew痴 Day Festival, Canal Street Krewe of Jingle parade, Jazz Half Marathon and more.

The women also work with many community service organizations, including Hands on New Orleans, Bike MS, Gulf Restoration Network, HIV/AIDS Awareness Music Project, Animal Rescue New Orleans and Second Harvest Food Bank.

The team has also received national recognition from CNN, the Associated Press, Yahoo News, W Magazine, and Health & Fitness magazine.

O誰eil practices twice each week with her teammates, but she also skates around her neighborhood on the Lakewood Drive bike trail and on the levee paths.

"Roller derby is truly the most life-changing, selfish thing I have ever done – I am honored to be around such powerful women and part of a great organization," O誰eil said. "I知 benefiting from this physically, emotionally, spirituallyas a wife, mother, daughter, friend and realtor, I didn稚 think I had a 僧e.

"Well I found her – her name is Star-Ree!"

A roller derby name and number is created by each player to best suit their character in the game. O誰eil chose the name "Star-Ree Eyed Surprize" because of her glass-half-full personality, stand-out attitude and her favorite dance song by Oakenfeld. Her number, 391, is a combination of her children痴 birth months.

O誰eil said her family has been very supportive of her decision to join the team. In fact, her sister, Maria Gallagher, loved the idea of derby so much that she tried out for the team in October when the rollergirls held their annual auditions. She was inducted as one of the newest members and has already adopted the title of "Slammron Diazz."

The Big Easy Rollergirls is the first and only all-female flat track roller derby league in New Orleans. The league was established in 2005 and has more than 60 athletes of all ages and races. More than 6,500 tickets were sold to their competitive games last year.

To find out more about the league, visit

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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