DuBOIS — The Dodds of DuBois enjoy lacing up their skates and hitting the rink as part of an enjoyable sport, but also a family-oriented activity.
Katie and Tony Dodd’s four children – Lauren, 21, Morgan, 19, Erika, 17, and Laken, 15 – all share the same passion for roller derby and roller hockey. The Dodd girls play at more than one area rink, including Edgewood Family Fun Center, Reynoldsville Roller Dome and the Brockway Recreational Revitalization Rink.
The introduction to roller derby began when Laken Dodd was having an ear issue, said Katie.
“At the time, we were swimming at the high school,” she said. “I didn’t want her to be excluded while the other three swam. So, we started roller skating.”
The other girls began joining in, as they enjoyed the sport, too, including the 10-minute hockey sessions held at the end of the night at the Edgewood Family Fun Center rink, said Katie.
The Dodds practice pick-up hockey as a family at Edgewood Family Fun Center on Sundays.
“My husband and I started doing it just to help the girls play hockey,” she said. “You will never see your kids play from a better spot on the floor.”
Erika and Laken practice roller derby with the Edgewood’s Little Bruisers, and satellite play on the Pittsburgh Junior Roller Derby Brats team, said Katie. In mid-June, they placed second in the JRDA (Junior Roller Derby Association) East Coast Regional Tournament.
Lauren and Morgan are just getting back to practicing with the adult team Northern Allegheny Roller Derby, said Katie. All four girls play on the Twisted Wristers team in Brockway’s Summer Roller Hockey League.
Erika and Laken Dodd said roller derby is a very uplifting and welcoming sport.
“We are all more like a family,” they said.
Roller derby, a fast-paced and team-based sport, takes a lot of skill, said Katie. Roller hockey is played on wheels, between two teams on harder surfaces.
Roller derby is great at helping players build self esteem, and also for sharpening up their skating skills for hockey playing, said Katie.
“It takes a lot of practice,” she noted.
Positive characteristics can be learned from playing roller sports, including respect and being encouraging of others, as well as setting an example for younger or new skaters. Three of the Dodd girls also juggle having a job.
Their children are also homeschooled, said Katie, so this is a social outlet for them to be out and about with their peers.
It’s unique that all of the Dodd girls play roller sports, as the leagues usually consist mostly of men, she noted.
Besides it being good exercise, skating is something the Dodd family enjoys doing together, she said. It’s rewarding, said Katie, for parents to see their children share the same passion and do something they love.
The Dodds encourage anyone with a love of skating to try roller derby/hockey, as everyone has been very encouraging and accepting of their family.