Rolling with the punches

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Gabriela Soto is a 29-year-old, part-time student with two children and one interesting hobby – roller derby.

rollerRoller derby is a team competition on roller skates that is popular among women, but can be a co-ed sport.

Soto, whose chosen derby name is Roxy Fem Fatale, is a part of Stockton’s Port City Roller Girls, founded in 2006 by Lisa Anderson, or “2 Quik.”

The Port City Roller Girls is made up of women ages 14 to 50. Port City is one of the many teams that invite men to join as well.

Soto heard about the team through a friend and has been a member since Jan. 2015.
Since then she has worked hard to show the team what she’s made of.

Soto was able to scrimmage by March and make it onto the team’s official roster in May. She is currently working on becoming a jammer for the team.

Many of the women on the team, like Soto, are mothers and/or work full time.

For a few, this relieves stress from their lives outside of the track.

“My life was get up, get my son up, go to work, go home, feed my son dinner, give him a shower, feed myself, get him in bed, get me in bed and get up and do it again,” said Jaime Cardoza. “I needed something else. Like I got lost. There was no Jaime.”

Anderson lets the women who have children bring them to practice so they can still watch over them.

“It relieves stress and you get to hit girls. Pretty much when you are on the track you don’t think about anything else, because you’re focused on what you’re doing. I mean, if you’re not focused you’re going to get hurt,” said Soto

Cardoza and Soto both said the team is one big family.

“These women have quickly become my sisters. I trust them as much as they trust me and, I mean, without that I don’t think we can really function very well,” said Soto.

Cardoza agreed as well.

“The girls here are amazing,” stated Cardoza

When Soto isn’t on the track she is attending Delta College for 20 hours a week in hope of getting her administrative assistant certificate.

Once she’s done, she hopes to transfer and become a dental hygienist.