How State College’s C3 Sports Ranks Against Penn Skates for Women’s SCAR Derby | State College News
After Penn Skates closed in October 2021, the State College Area Roller Derby had to move to State College’s C3 Sports and Event Center for its 10th season — a move that had both ups and downs, according to Rachel Gaddis, President and Co-President of Coaches.
Gaddis, who is also known as “Blackout Betty” while skating, said the new space was “huge”.
“We could technically play three games at a time at this facility,” Gaddis said.
SCAR Derby is a women’s flat track derby league which consists of two home teams and two travel teams, and has been a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association since 2015.
The Happy Valley Dolls — the “A-team” — charter up to 20 skaters at a time and register up to 15 for each game, according to their website.
SCAR Derby’s second team, Plan B, offers skaters a chance to improve their competitive abilities before being promoted to the A team, traveling up to four hours for matches, as well as hosting them at C3.
The two local teams, Mount Nittany Mayhem and the Pennsyltucky Punishers, compete only in C3.
With four teams, Gaddis said communication is important, and C3 has filled that need for the association.
“We can easily go meet in the lobby for a meeting before we hit the track,” Gaddis said.
Gaddis also said most people hadn’t heard of Penn Skates and its location when SCAR Derby advertised there — a problem she said C3 didn’t have.
However, the lack of storage is a complication of the new space, according to Gaddis. At Penn Skates, teams had space for all their gear, which C3 does not currently offer.
“We will hopefully buy an enclosed trailer and park it outside with our supplies,” Gaddis said.
Each court in C3 has a garage door nearby, so a trailer would be used to unload equipment there, according to Gaddis.
Additionally, the floor at Penn Skates was concrete with a thin coat of paint designed for roller skating, while the floor at C3 was hard plastic tile.
“[The Penn Skates’ floor] just reacts differently to what we’re on now, which is a sports field,” Gaddis said.
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Although its members had a different opinion on the new surface, Gaddis said it was neither pro nor con.
SCAR Derby has seen a recent increase in what it calls “fresh cuts” – new members with varying degrees of experience, and there are currently 12 fresh cuts.
Gaddis cited the coronavirus pandemic as a potential cause for the influx of people.
“A lot of people started roller skating during the pandemic,” Gaddis said. “It was a big thing.”
The practice is divided into two groups – the fresh cuts and the team members. They start by doing various stretches without skates, then put on their skates, helmets and protections.
Once kitted out they went their separate ways – new cuts working on roller skating fundamentals and team members working on derby fundamentals.
Katie Jeziorski said she discovered SCAR Derby through social media.
“I haven’t skated in a long time, but I’m considering joining,” Jeziorski said.
For Vanessa Rodriguez, C3 just isn’t the same as Penn Skates.
“It had an intimate feel,” Rodriguez said.
SCAR Derby are considering hosting a tournament this fall, but plans at this stage are very nebulous and nothing is guaranteed yet, according to Gaddis.
“If anyone is interested in getting involved, contact us – we are always looking for new members and volunteers.”