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It’s amazing what one can accomplish in a year, one minute you could be shopping for dog food—the next minute they could be joining a roller derby team.
At least that is case for Brynn Stanchock, a Boyertown resident, who saw a flyer for the Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars in a store window a year ago and decided to take the plunge.
Taking into account her age, coordination, and lack of skating experience over the past twenty years, she was hesitant—but saw the derby as an opportunity to get to know people.
Upon inquiry, she was told to show up at practice that night or she’d have to wait a few months; her first instinct: get the right gear. After being set up with a beginner’s skating package, she was sent on her way.
“It is tough, but I feel like it’s the same type of change people go through when they have a baby. You just figure it out,” said Stanchock.
She did indeed figure it out and was soon enough known as Animal Brynstincts: Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstar. As an animal lover, as soon as the name came to her she knew it was right.
“As a kid I always wanted a nickname and never got one, and I cannot explain how giddy and exciting it is to me when someone refers to me as ‘Animal,” said Stanchock. “Derby has given me the confidence to openly be the ‘me’ that I used to reserve for only really close friends.”
Having recently adopted a newborn with her husband, Stanchock anticipated a challenge but was swarmed with her support from her husband, fellow derby players and officials that have offered to help.
“I don’t notice the lack of sleep because it’s like the positives of exercise and stress relief counter act that few hours of missed sleep stress. I’m stronger physically and emotionally and I feel like I belong somewhere in the community now. “
According to Stanchock, she basically chose derby over the pursuit of a master’s degree, a decision that she continues to stand by. “I didn’t need the degree for my job, but I felt like I need derby for my life right now.”
Fellow skaters have made tremendous impacts on her life in and outside of derby.
As a teacher, Stanchock thrives through the acceptance diversity and claims the derby has raised her standards in the classroom.
“No school or lesson or program I’ve ever been a part of even comes close to truly celebrating diversity the way the roller derby community does.”
“I could write a book,” said Stanchock, when asked about derby’s impacts on her life. Through all of its positive impacts, and despite injury, Stanchock says derby will continue to be part of her life as long as her body allows.