A Magazine from California State University, ChicoSpring 2012 Issue

On a Roll: Becoming an L.A. Derby Doll

On a Roll: Becoming an L.A. Derby Doll

Athletics have always been a part of Stephanie Azores’s life—volleyball, kickball, softball, golf—and so has a love of the glamorous and theatrical. But it wasn’t until she went to her first roller derby bout at age 29 that Azores found, as she says, “my thing.”

“Once the first whistle blew, I thought, ‘Oh, I want to do this!’ ” she says. “It was very electric—with the excitement of a race; checking like in hockey; blocking that’s a little bit like football; Nascar-like crashes, except with people; this great combination of sports. People just got into it.”

Photo by Sir Clicks-A-Lot

Photo by Sir Clicks-A-Lot

Azores (BS, Business Administration, ’02) was one of them. Soon she was off the stands and racing around the banked track as a jammer with the LA Derby Dolls Tough Cookies. And loving it—the camaraderie, the sport, and the chance to integrate bright-red lipstick with a serious athletic pursuit.

Since Azores started competing in 2007 under the alter ego STEFCON 1, the sport has gotten even more serious, she says. “Back then it was a little more about having fun and looking cute in fishnets,” but now conferences are organized around the sport, leagues hire professional coaches, and the Roller Derby World Cup debuted in 2011 (and was swept by Team USA).

Azores is committed to roller derby for the long term, saying “as long as I have the legs, I’ll keep playing.” She now skates for the LA Ri-Ettes, the Derby Dolls All-Star Team. She even switched her day job at Guidance Software from a corporate events planner to marketing automation manager, a position that requires less travel and leaves more time for practice.

One of the greatest things about roller derby, says Azores, is the inclusiveness—the “sisterhood”—of the sport. “We have people in our league who are upward of their 40s. A lot of women start families and come back to it—we have a lot of moms. It’s gotten a lot broader than the punk scene and artist types; people of all backgrounds come out and end up playing.

“You literally go through blood, sweat, and tears with these women, working toward one goal—you become really close.”

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Alum Notes

John Concannon

John

CONCANNON (BS, Business Administration, ’85) is a fourth-generation vintner at Concannon Vineyard.

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Tanja Poley

Tanja Poley

(BS, Business Administration, ’94) is the human resources manager for the News & Review, headquartered in Sacramento.

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Kathy Crusco

Kathy Crusco

(BS, Business Administration, ’87) is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Epicor Software Corporation.

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