npressfetimg-1705.png

Roller derby queen – Texas Woman’s University – Texas Woman’s University


TWU math teacher Smith finds her place on skates

Aug. 18, 2022 – DENTON – Shawnda Smith is accustomed to performing calculations in her role as a math teacher at Texas Woman’s University. But she does some special computations in an arena outside the classroom.

A very different arena.

Calculations involving speed. Velocity. Acceleration.

Round ‘n’ round, oh round ‘n’ round.

And how much force is needed to take out that jammer.

Round ‘n’ round, oh round ‘n’ round.

Because Shawnda Smith, PhD and assistant professor of mathematics, is a roller derby queen.

“Many people have never heard of roller derby,” Smith said. “They ask, ‘where’s the ball?’ There is no ball. Some will ask, ‘is it actually a sport?’ Yes, just not a traditional sport. A lot of people are very interested when you tell them. A lot people haven’t seen it before. They might have a seen a picture, but they haven’t see a game.”

Teams of five players each skate on an oval track and score by having a designated skater, called the jammer, lap the skaters on the other team. The other skaters, called blockers, try to stop the opposing jammer and open up lanes for their own jammer.

It’s a full-contact sport, but this incarnation is not your parents’ – or grandparents’ – roller derby.

The sport grew out of marathon roller skate races in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which evolved in the 1930s into short-course team competitions on a small, banked track surrounded by a railing. Beginning in the late 1940s, it was broadcast on network television, and teams like the Thunderbirds and Bombers became national names. The popularity peaked with the 1972 movie Kansas City Bomber, starring Raquel Welch.

By the 1970s, however, the sport had become a caricature of itself. The contact had devolved into exaggerated carnage, with skaters being sent flying over the railing. Attendance and ratings declined, and when expenses outpaced income, it was doomed.

Roller derby didn’t die, but transformed into something its earliest stars could never have imagined.

“Derby is a very interesting community,” Smith said. “It spans a lot of different professions, and the derby community accepts everyone, different sizes and backgrounds. You have people who are incredibly shy and people who thrive in social situations. It’s a unique community where everybody is welcome, no matter what.”

While a handful of banked tracks remain, the sport primarily takes place on a flat track. The railing is gone, and spectators bring chairs and sit on the edge of the track, though children are not allowed on the front row for safety.

Smith got started while in Austin, where she earned her master’s and PhD.

“My neighbor was the medic for the roller derby team in Austin,” Smith said.

Let’s pause to consider that statement. How many of your hobbies require a team medic?

“I told her I didn’t know anything about roller derby, and she told me she’d get me in for free,” Smith said. “I went, and it just felt like these were my people.”

After getting over understandable nerves, she was instructed how to turn and fall (on your pads, not your butt). Her husband bought her skates for her birthday and she joined the recreational league in Austin.

“That was 10 years ago,” Smith said. “…….

Source: https://twu.edu/mathematics/division-and-alumni-news/roller-derby-queen/


TWU math teacher Smith finds her place on skates

Aug. 18, 2022 – DENTON – Shawnda Smith is accustomed to performing calculations in her role as a math teacher at Texas Woman’s University. But she does some special computations in an arena outside the classroom.

A very different arena.

Calculations involving speed. Velocity. Acceleration.

Round ‘n’ round, oh round ‘n’ round.

And how much force is needed to take out that jammer.

Round ‘n’ round, oh round ‘n’ round.

Because Shawnda Smith, PhD and assistant professor of mathematics, is a roller derby queen.

“Many people have never hea…….


TWU math teacher Smith finds her place on skates

Aug. 18, 2022 – DENTON – Shawnda Smith is accustomed to performing calculations in her role as a math teacher at Texas Woman’s University. But she does some special computations in an arena outside the classroom.

A very different arena.

Calculations involving speed. Velocity. Acceleration.

Round ‘n’ round, oh round ‘n’ round.

And how much force is needed to take out that jammer.

Round ‘n’ round, oh round ‘n’ round.

Because Shawnda Smith, PhD and assistant professor of mathematics, is a roller derby queen.

“Many people have never hea…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.