Eva McCloskey . . . Unleashed

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Eva McCloskey
Eva McCloskey Credit: Ethan Backer
Roller derby is not, contrary to popular belief, fake or staged in any way. We have really great uniforms, we have a DJ spinning while we play, but it's not at all like wrestling, it's full contact and very real. We're athletes, we practice four or five times a week, two or three hours at a time, and we try to do some cross-training when we can. We train really hard to avoid injuries, but I've lost a crown and had some nasty bruises—minor injuries. I do have a persistent knee problem that came from a small ligament tear, but that's been healing nicely.
Growing up, I wasn't on any team sports. Sports didn't interest me. I went to a few childhood birthday parties that were at roller rinks, but I wasn't really great. I'd heard about roller derby, and coincidentally, a little over a year ago, I ran into a friend of mine who was on a team. I immediately bought roller skates and went to their next practice. The league didn't have a logo or a website—it'd been around for about three months, and I joined at a really great time to be more heavily involved in running it as a business. I'm still a skater, I'm on the Wicked Pissahs and I'm one of five owners of the Boston Derby Dames league. I'm in charge of our branding and image committee, which includes sponsorship, community relations, advertising and events. I also co-manage our travel team, the Boston Massacre.
Credit: Ethan Backer
It's a crazy high that you get from skating—there's so much adrenaline and it's really intense. On the track, you can get really emotional, upset, excited—and hurt. There are a lot of icepacks involved, along with plenty of screaming and yelling and getting really worked up in general. I feel very proud of it all; we've done this all on our own. Lots of women who join roller derby do it to escape their daily lives. I view it more as an extension of mine. The Barbarian Group is a really nurturing, weird place to spend 10 hours every day. Roller derby is very similar—there's such camaraderie, we're all involved in this wonderful business. A few of the girls are pregnant now, so we're going to have our first generation of daughters, and that's really exciting. I can't imagine my life without roller derby and my fellow derby girls.
Credit: Ethan Backer
Credit: Ethan Backer
Credit: Ethan Backer
Credit: Ethan Backer
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