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Personality+: Sarah Stiens — Roll Playing

By day, PowerNet Global Communications’ enterprise marketing specialist, Sarah Stiens, pens press releases and advertisements and maintains the reseller’s Web site. But by night, she slips into another dimension — the world of roller derby — where she becomes Sahara Hazard.

Sarah Stiens, aka Sahara Hazard
Photo by: Jason Bechtel

Inspired by cable television show “Rollergirls” on the A&E network, Sarah decided to give the sport a go. She trained for a few months, learned all of the official rules and took a test to join a team. She passed, and henceforth became known as Sahara Hazard, number 74grrl of the Full Metal Corsets, which joined three other teams — the Dames of Destruction, the Bloody Sundaes and the Cincinnati Riots — in the Cincinnati Rollergirls league inaugural season 2006-2007.

The sport of roller derby is nearly a century old and was wildly popular in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, but it died out until experiencing resurgence in the last few years. Roller derby is now mostly a “no boys allowed” club, but men can be referees, coaches and volunteers. Any female, age 18 or older, can play, and there is no age limit.

The game itself is based on formation roller skating around an oval track, sometimes banked and sometimes flat. For the bout (a.k.a. match), two teams send five players each onto the track — three blockers (defense), one pivot (last line of defense) and one jammer (scorer). Positions are designated on players’ helmets. During each jam (similar to a two-minute inning or quarter), pivots and blockers form a pack while the jammers start 20 feet behind. Jammers try to score points by lapping the pack as much as possible, also trying to be the first jammer to pass all blockers and pivots to become the lead jammer and take control of when the jam ends.

At Super Roll Sunday III in Florence, Ky., in Fall 2006, Sahara Hazard knocks Bloody Sundaes’ jammer, SK8R-Kinney, out of bounds so the jammer won’t get any points for passing Sahara or teammate Deep Threat.
Photo by Jason Bechtel

Sarah played the position of blocker and was tasked with helping her jammer get past the opponent’s blockers or knocking the opposing team’s jammer out of bounds. However, after only a season-and-a-half, Sahara Hazard decided to retire. “Roller derby is, unfortunately, a sport with a very short lifespan because there are a lot of things that can prevent you from sticking with it,” Sarah said, explaining that she broke her ankle in the middle of the first season. “Roller derby isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life.”

Sarah still attends bouts to cheer on the Cincinnati Rollergirls whenever she can. Sarah said she feels proud to have been part of such an amazing sport that was all about “women who kick butt.”

First job: At 16, Sarah worked at a Mom & Pop pizza place called Angilo’s in Loveland, Ohio.

Funny bone: Despite her own hair color, Sarah has a love for blond jokes. Her favorite part? Beating her friends to the punch line!

Book worm: Sarah spends a lot of her spare time reading and is currently reading “My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon,” a book of short stories by different science-fiction authors. Her most favorite read was “White Oleander,” by Janet Fitch, and she also loves poetry, particularly the works of Pablo Neruda and Emily Dickinson.

Greatest wish: To be a famous author. (Hey, maybe there’s a bestselling roller derby novella in her future!)

Superfan status: Sarah admits to being a huge fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” She owns every season on DVD, she’s read the books, collects the comic books and action figures, and even named her cat, “Buffy.” “For me, the show means what roller derby does,” said Sarah. “Buffy’s character is a strong woman trying to find her way in the world and she kicks butt along the way. It definitely gave me something to relate to when I was a teenager and the show has not lost its meaning for me as an adult.”

Do you know someone who has Personality+? We’re looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at csievers@vpico.com.


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