City of Palm Coast employee Alyssa Roscoe can be found tearing up the track when she's not problem-solving for residents.
Alyssa Roscoe got her start in roller derby unexpectedly in July 2011 when she was asked to join the Beachside Brawlers, the Palm Coast Roller Derby team.
She grew up playing sports; she was the only girl on the boy baseball team in her hometown of Orange City. She felt like sport teams were missing in the adult world, so she hopped on the track and never looked back.
“I’m a pretty competitive person, so I saw something, and I wanted to do it,” she said. “I practiced off skates; I practiced on skates. There was one point where I was hip checking trees just to get the motions.”
Known as Princess Leia U Out when she was on the Beachside Brawlers, Roscoe immediately fell in love with the sport, the showmanship and her teammates.
“The organization really teaches you everything,” she said. “It’s for the skater, by the skater. So, you’ve got coaches and captains that are teaching you everything, and your league-mates are helping you grow and learn, and nurture you.”
Roscoe became “derby wives” with Carla Owens about six months into her joining the Beachside Brawlers in 2013.
“It’s like your best friend,” said Owens, whose derby name is Holy Scrap. “You become close to everybody in derby, but your derby wife is somebody that you know every move they’re going to make on the track. They’ve got your back; they’re right there for you all the time — not just on the track; it’s outside of derby too.”
Owens said Roscoe is unstoppable on the track.
“She’s like a boss; she’s a wrecking ball,” Owens said.
BRUISED BUT NOT BACKING DOWN
Roscoe became a customer service specialist with the city of Palm Coast in May 2013, and she still often walks into work with bruises, sometimes on crutches — or even in a wheelchair.
It’s become a fun conversation piece when she interacts with residents of the city who come into the customer service office.
“I kind of thought I may not ever want to mess with her because she must be tough,” customer service supervisor Lisa Asbill said with a laugh, recalling the first time she met Roscoe. “I feel like she gets her aggression out there, so it kind of brings her focus here. It kind of goes hand in hand.”
The sport is a stress reliever for Roscoe.
“I find it to be an outlet,” Roscoe said. “At work, you’re helping people and problem-solving and figuring out things and getting to the root problem. But derby is kind of that too, where you’re figuring out how to do something. Your teammates are your residents; they’re the ones you’re trying to help.”
Roscoe spent seven years with the Beachside Brawlers, practicing derby two to three times a week at the outdoor track at the Flagler County Youth Center on the Flagler Palm Coast High School campus.
“It’s not uncommon for girls to throw up at practice because it’s just so intense and being outdoors in August in Florida, the temperatures can get up there,” Roscoe noted. She has a “pretty strong stomach” though, so she avoided that — but not other injuries, like separating her acromioclavicular joints and tearing her posterior cruciate ligament.
In May 2014, she participated in a game when she was advised not to, but she didn’t want to let her team down. During that bout, she took a helmet to the face.
“I broke my nose a week before my wedding,” Roscoe said. “I thought my mom was going to kill me. … It was swollen and crooked, but makeup does wonders.”
Owens was Roscoe’s maid of honor on her special day.
“It all started on the track,” Owens said. “Whenever you’re part of a derby team, they become your family. You have to learn to trust them. It’s a team; it’s a second family.”
SLOW DOWN TO SPEED UP
When Roscoe had her daughter in 2015, she got back on skates in four weeks, which she now says was a terrible idea.
“My body was so not ready,” she said. “My team was very much like, ‘Hey, calm down.’”
She took their advice, and after she had her son in 2017, she waited six months to do derby again.
Her daughter, now age 4, already has a pair of skates and even skated with her in the Fabulous Fourth of July Parade in Flagler Beach last year.
This year at age 30, Roscoe said she had to make a decision: Did she want to stay at the recreational level or kick it up a notch?
“I wanted to take it to the next level,” Roscoe said. “I’ve been doing this for seven years and I’ve made so many great memories. But I felt like I’m not getting any younger, and I wanted to see what it was about before I got too old to do that.”
It’s that kind of dedication that led her to try out for the Jacksonville Roller Derby league.
“I tried out for the A team, and I was going to try out for the B team when I didn’t make it, but much to my surprise, I made it; I made the A team,” Roscoe said. “That was in February, so the last few months have been really intense and getting to work with names that I’ve looked up to for a really long time. A few of my teammates are on Team USA; they’ve been in the World Cup.”
The New Jax City Rollers, which is a part of the Jacksonville Roller Derby, is Women’s Flat Track Derby Association sanctioned. The team is currently No. 18 in the world, out of 462 recognized WFTDA teams.
As the blocker on the team, Roscoe uses her body to stop the jammer, the player who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. When she was on the Beachside Brawlers, she was a jammer, marked by a star on her helmet.
She drives to Jacksonville on Sunday and Monday to practice for two to three hours, until 10 p.m. It makes for long nights, but it’s worth it, she said.
Roscoe now goes by “Aly” instead of Princess Leia U Out for her derby name; she said she wanted to feel like she could just be herself.
As a mom, an employee, a wife and more, Roscoe said being a derby player helps her remember that she deserves to pursue her passion too. She said her family always encourages her on and off the track.
“I could not ask for a better husband; I have the best partner,” she said. “He’s a musician, so we always joke that he rocks and I roll. He’s definitely supportive, and I support him.”