This fourth-year anthropology student has led a packed college life. She spent her first two years at Bowling Green State University, and while there, embarked on a 14,500-mile road trip to 48 states and camped for nine weeks as part of the school’s GeoJourney program. This experience inspired her to transfer to Carolina because of its anthropology program. At USC, she’s a member of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, is a Safe Zone Ally and works for the Center for Disability Resources by taking class notes for a vision-impaired student. She fell in love with roller derby after watching a bout (the derby term for a game) while studying abroad in New Zealand during her third year.
“I like fast-paced sports, and the fan base for derby is loud and crazy. The sport’s all girls, and it’s been underground for so long, but it’s different from anything you see nowadays,” she says.
Today, Rachael plays as a blocker for the Columbia QuadSquad Rollergirls, which got its start in 2007. Bouts are made up of a series of 2-minute matchups (called “jams”) in which four blockers and one scoring player (the “jammer”) are designated for each team. The jammer scores by lapping players of the opposing team.
“Roller derby is brutal, but it’s not like girls punching each other in the face,” Rachael says. “The teams are competitive on the track, but once they get off, it’s an after-party.”
CQS gives back to the community by donating the money raised from bouts to organizations such as Girl Scouts and causes like breast cancer awareness.
Rachael emphasizes that this up-and-coming sport celebrates everyone.
“When people think of derby, they picture big, burly girls with tattoos and lots of black hair, but derby’s evolved,” she says. “This has become a sport where girls from all walks of life can play.”
Watch Rachael and CQS’ bout on Oct. 16 against the Blue Ridge Roller girls at Jamil Temple, and check them out at ColumbiaQuadSquad.com.