11 years ago, Rachel Reed was living in the Fox Cities and had never heard of modern day roller derby.
"I had a friend who invited me to a practice, and I've been playing ever since,” said Reed. “I really just fell in love with the sport and everything about it."
So much so that Reed, better known by her derby name "Lolly PopYa" had a deal-breaker when she was looking for a job in Central Wisconsin four years later.
"One of my criteria for finding a job was that there would be a roller derby league nearby."
Which led her to the Mid-State Sisters of Skate. Founded in 2011, the team competes in games and tournaments across Central Wisconsin, and as far as Indianapolis.
Another veteran team member is Kristen Biadasz or “Bubble Wrap”. She's from the area and just happened to see a sign promoting roller derby at Goals and Dreams Ice Arena in 2012. She checked out an exhibition, then a year later, joined the group.
"I went to a practice, I really liked it, and I immediately signed up,” said Biadasz. “It was just the fact that I had never played a contact sport in my entire life, and I thought if I'm ever going to do this, this is the time."
The biggest thing that you'll come away with from watching a game or practice is that roller derby is much more than a bunch of people skating around and hitting each other. This is a true team sport, complete with strategy and designed plays with some pretty interesting names."
"'Kittens in a basket', 'zombie meeting', and 'kill, kill, kill'.”
Reed explains: "The communication required to be blockers on the track is just immense."
There are many reasons these ladies keep coming back.
"It feels really good to hit people," said Biadasz.
"The strategy of it, the physical component of it,” Reed explained.
But the bond the team shares is at the top of the list.
"The people are really great,” Reed said. “I have a lot of friends in the league, I've met a lot of people from around the world playing roller derby."
"Our league is pretty amazing,” said Biadasz. “I know all of these wonderful people, and their family, and their extended family, and the people they call family."