JAMESTOWN, N.Y.: The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention will be honored as the spotlight charity by the Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls roller derby team at their upcoming bout on Saturday August 5th as they continue to break down stigma and raise suicide prevention awareness. Last year the Wrecking Dolls rattled some cages by rolling away with an undefeated inaugural season, and this year they hope to shake things up for a different reason. The Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls, or “Dolls” to their fans and supporters, have changed the commonly named trackside seating from “Suicide Seating” to “The Wrecking Zone.”
In roller derby, trackside seating is considered some of the best seats in the house. It was cheekily coined “Suicide Seating” as it would be considered “suicide” to sit there. With no barriers or other safeguards to obscure the view, fans brave enough to sit in trackside seating are rewarded with a sensory-stimulating experience; hearing every grunt from each hit delivered, the chatter of the teams communicating on the track, the blare of the whistles, the breeze left by players as they whip by, and sometimes a derby skater in their lap.
Why should something as exciting and thrilling as front row seats at a roller derby bout be linked to something as negative and heartbreaking as suicide? “It doesn’t,” said President and Founder of the Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls Amylynn Delgado, known on the rink as “Goblynn.” “What’s nice is, if something does not seem right, we have the ability to change it. The name Suicide Seating somehow glamorizes suicide, as if it is something daring and cool to do and this isn’t the type of message we wanted to support.”
The decision to change the name came about at the end of last season. Jill Arrance, known as “Peace of This,” and Head of the Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls Community Outreach, put the wheels of change in motion. Having personally been touched by suicide, she found the term “Suicide Seating” to be offensive and a painful reminder of her lost loved ones. When asked what this name change meant to her, Arrance said, “I know my family will appreciate the change because they have attended my roller derby bouts and felt this sadness as well. I cannot express enough how touched I am, with the league’s support, that we were able to change this common terminology.”
The league soon recognized that many of its members had been affected by suicide and a change needed to be made. Jami Kramer, also known as “Ariel Attack,” said she hopes this change will influence other leagues to do the same. “We want derby to be an escape not a sore reminder. They can show friends and fans the importance of being there for others, you never know what someone is feeling inside. By simply changing this name, we may remove a painful trigger.”
Victoria Patti, Coordinator of The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention said she is pleased the Dolls have taken steps to raise awareness around suicide prevention. “We are so thankful that The Warrin’ Wrecking Dolls reached out to us and expressed their interest in supporting the cause, we want communities to think outside the box and have an increased understanding in how people struggle, and what may be a trigger. The idea of changing ‘Suicide Seating’ to ‘The Wrecking Zone’ is a perfect example of this.” Patti added, “This will be a new way for us to provide outreach to those in the community who may need help that we haven’t yet had a chance to interact with. We look forward to providing local resources, giveaways, and overall support at the Allen Park roller derby bout in August.”
The bout starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Allen Park Ice Rink in Jamestown where the Dolls will be battling Central Ohio Roller Derby and a special Lucy and Desi costume contest will be held at halftime. Please visit www.warrinwreckingdolls.com or the league’s Facebook page for further information. For information or support regarding suicide prevention, please contact The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention at 716-753-4519 or email Victoria Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org .