Rebecca “Bear-a-Cuda” Trester, 40, is building her relationship with her daughter, Devyn “Smaxl Rose” Trester, 22, as well as building camaraderie with a variety of women, and getting in shape.
The Tresters have joined Ann Arbor Derby Dimes, a skater-run league of women participating in roller derby. The mission of the league is “to promote athleticism and empowerment, to create a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among our many hardworking members, and to be a positive force within the community.”
Roller derby is a contact sport that involves two teams of five members skating in the same direction around a track. Rebecca Trester joined the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes in February 2014.
“I was bored and looking for an activity that was physically challenging and mentally stimulating,” said Trester, who had only been skating for one year. “I had watched a couple of bouts in both Detroit and Ann Arbor and was completely drawn to the sport.”
She signed up for roller derby boot camp, 18 weeks of learning a number of skills and spending time on the track going through drills to learn endurance as well as how to fall safely, how to skate close together, how to give and receive whips, and how to legally give and take hits. Trester says that unlike the old days of roller derby, using elbows and fists will now get a skater ejected from a bout.
“Boot camp was the most physically challenging thing that I have ever done in my life,” said Trester. “I wasn’t sure if my body would forgive me for the discomfort and strain I was putting on it.”
Devyn Trester also found boot camp challenging.
“Everything hurts all the time – your feet, knees, and back, just from using muscles you haven’t ever used before,” said Devyn Trester. “It took me a while to realize I’m not going to be naturally good at this and it will take time and practice to get better, and that everyone was in my shoes (or skates) at one point.”
Rebecca Trester says that time was the key to her body building up to the physical challenge.
“The mentally stimulating aspect crept in a little more quietly,” said Rebecca Trester. “It was the little things that I started noticing – perserverance in my skating skills, strength in my endurance, and acceptance in my struggles. But most importantly, I found peace with my body image. I believe this was the biggest change derby had given me and is what was responsible for Devyn’s decision to also be a part of the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes.”
Devyn decided to join roller derby after moving back to her home from Kalamazoo where she went to college.
“Growing up I always played sports and felt like I needed something like that again,” said Devyn Trester. “My mom was able to give me advice throughout boot camp, and now that I passed, we are able to drive to practice and actually skate and scrimmage together. It’s definitely a bonding moment every time.”
The mother and daughter teammates enjoy the competitiveness and driving each other to try harder. Devyn entered the sport with just six months of skating experience.
Both mother and daughter can claim success in their new sport. Rebecca recently tried out and made the Ypsilanti Vigilantes team, and Devyn successfully completed her boot camp and will be trying out for the Vigilantes in the spring.