Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shedding pounds on skates

Amie Pinkie Adams never liked the gym, but roughing it up on roller skates inspired her to be more active.

After a car accident sidelined her for months, Adams trained to play roller derby. She is one of nearly 50 area women in the Charlotte Roller Girls League. She's lost 25 pounds since February, and she still enjoys chicken wings and beer (afterall, PBR is a league sponsor.)

"I didn't start conditioning before I started (playing in) the league," said Adams, 32. "It motivated me to get in shape."

Adams is an example of how getting fit doesn't have to occur in a gym, and doesn't require endless miles of jogging. The Charlotte area has numerous adult recreational leagues -- Charlotte Sports Connection, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, and Interlink -- that offer sports ranging from flag football to kickball. If you want to get in shape, try finding a sport you loved in high school or discover a new one.

I have played flag football off and on here for 15 years. I have tried ice hockey (I sucked), and played pick-up volleyball and soccer while living in the area.

Adams found her motivation on roller skates. Charlotte Roller Girls started with 10 women three years ago. Now there are three teams within the league. In September, the teams will compete for an intra-league championship. CLTRG teams play at Grady Cole Center and average about 1,200 people per game.

Along with intra-league play, the Charlotte Roller Girl teams also play roller derby teams throughout the Carolinas and surrounding states.

The woman aren't being paid to play, but they're more committed than some of those whiny professional athletes. Roller derby is a high-speed, high-impact sport that requires serious physical training. The women train on and off the skates.

Adams trained for nearly a year before she was in good enough to shape play in her first game.

"There's a lot of garbage cans, I threw up in," she said with a laugh. "I was out of shape. I had put on a ton of weight."

The players practice two hours a day, four days a week. Adams said a team member calculated the women burn at least 1,000 calories per practice.

On Saturday, the league will host its Inaugural Cornhole Tournament and Bar Games at Mac’s Speed Shop, 2414 Sandy Porter Road. It's from 12-6 p.m. Along with cornhole, there will be arm wrestling with a roller girl and beer pong. The next bout is July 19. The afterparty will be at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille.

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