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Finding Your Inner Roller Derby Girl At Derby Lite

Derby Lite

Roller derby girls suit up at Derby Lite. (Credit: Lisa Fielding/WBBM Newrsadio/CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — On a Saturday morning inside a South Side Chicago gym, 8 women suit up with helmets, skates, and protective pads. But they won’t be giving elbows or checking their opponents.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports in this week’s Made in Chicago, Derby Lite is a class for your inner Derby Girl without the bumps and bruises.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

“It’s not aggressive. We don’t do hitting. We don’t do full out derby. No hitting, no checking, nothing like that,” said Derby Lite Instructor Laura

“Lollapabruiza” Passero says you don’t have to be a skilled skater to take part…

“If you don’t know how to skate, we’ll teach you how to skate. Some women haven’t been on skates in 20 years. They find out quickly that they can’t skate like they used to when they were 13 years old.” Passero said.

The Oak Park-based company was founded by a former skater with the Windy City Rollers. It has been around for nearly five years with classes throughout the country.

“There’s a lot of teachers, artists and designers then you get accountants and lawyers, women from all walks of life.” said Passero.

“I was horrible when I started, I couldn’t stand on my feet to save my life,” said Derby Lite skater Treasure “Teelicious” Rosa. “A year later, I’m jumping around, turn around, toe stops, things I never thought I’d be doing a year later.”

Passero says Derby Lite is perfect if you hate working out but want to be active in other ways.

“You don’t think about the fact that you are working out and you actually are. The class starts and wow, it’s over,” she said.

The workout is broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced sessions, and does all the training skills the roller derby athletes do in their training.

There is no experience necessary to be part of Derby Lite. On day one you will learn how to propel yourself, stop, and even how to fall.

Like in hardcore Derby world, women take on an alter ego of sorts.

“My name is Lollapabruiza” because I wanted something with my initials in it, people call me LP, and something Chicago related. Lollapallooza is in Chicago so that turned into Lollapabruiza. Most women take on another persona to let your inner power girl out and pick a name that reflects who they are that people may not know about in their daily lives,” Passero said.

For Rosa, the women in her class have become a second family and her new skills have made all the difference.

“It’s like a sisterhood. From Derby Lite to now, so much has changed for me. My confidence has gone up completely,” Rosa said.

To register or find a class near you, contact Derby Lite at derbylite.org.