My Roller Derby Journey

Me and my twin boys, at an Exeter Roller Derby Juniors session

Name: Sarah Otton

Derby name: Spin-der-hella

Length of time skating: On and off for three years.

What made you take up roller derby?

From the age of 17 I have devoted my life and all my time to my children. My eldest daughter Charlotte was born severely disabled and blind. In 1998 we moved to Exeter, with my then two children for Charlotte to attend a specialist school for the blind. I started to get depressed and put on weight, juggling two young kids whilst working was taking its toll.

Things began to change for the better when I married Phil, we since have had twin boys and another daughter!

It was when my youngest was 8 months old I felt I had the strength and energy to do something for me!

I signed up for a sport that looked immensely fun and a bit badass!

SWAT roller derby were inviting skaters to their fresh meat programme. I spent months training, but sadly did not pass their minimum skills test. I repeated the process the following year, but it was worse – I didn’t even get a place on the fresh meat programme! I was absolutely gutted, this was to be my time, my sport, my new life! I didn’t wish to quit or skate in their rec league, I was there to skate derby!

It was then that I joined Exeter Roller Derby and what a difference for me it was! My twin boys were already skating competitively with Exeter’s junior squad so I naturally knew some people before starting. 

What can I say… I have never felt so loved and valued, I don’t feel segregated or judged because of a lack of initial skate skills, instead only praised and supported.

So at the age of 44 I now am part of Roller Derby and have my own  skate name! I am a respected member and received praise from a lot of people and children and most of all….myself. Roll along the day I complete my minimum skills!

Where do you see your skate journey taking you in the next 12 months?

I see a path taking me to a new level! Playing regular games and being the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been, both physically and mentally. It is a vision I have had for a long time, perseverance will get me there!

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