Keeping pace with the Philadelphia’s best skaters isn’t an easy task but Bert has made a career out of putting doubters in their place.
“I remember the first time I ever saw roller derby,” she said. “I saw a picture on (Philadelphia) City Paper and thought ‘I want to do this.’ I tried out as Fresh Meat and I didn’t make it.”
Six months later, Bert tried again. With a little more experience and a ‘never say die’ attitude, she made the squad on the second time around. It didn’t matter that her long commute from South Jersey was draining and the team’s practice schedule can often times be brutal. Bert had roller derby in her sights and she wasn’t letting go, despite balancing a full-time job as a dental hygienist.
“You have to really want this,” she said. “The schedule can be demanding, and although it’s a team sport, the team isn’t going to drive you to practice.”
Bert was then selected by the Heavy Metal Hookers in 2008. But shortly after, the first setback of her career was due to a very special blessing in the form of her first child.
After losing the baby weight and battling back into shape to regain a roster spot, a second pregnancy soon followed.
It was back to square one after her second child was born.
Hooker team shot after their first win of the season in May 2012. Bert is holding her second born, Neelie, in the bottom right.
“Physically, it was quite awful,” Bert said. “Everything hurt. It’s really hard and you want to give up. I came back towards the end of the (2011) season to start skating again and I took the Fresh Meat Class before this season for more practice. I wanted to be better. The competition is the best it’s ever been and every time I got good, I got pregnant.”
This time, Bert added nutrition and added exercise to help the transition become smoother.
“I started eating better, I cross trained, and I took a spin class,” she said. “My speed has skyrocketed ever since. You can’t just do derby practices if you want to improve.”
Her teammates have noticed the difference.
“Bert is so strong-minded and I have a lot of respect for people that refuse to give up on their passion,” said Hookers and Independence Dolls teammate LaiYa Out Ali. “You can see her fire on the track. She’s so determined and she keeps coming back. It’s really inspiring.”
Bert regained her spot on the Independence Dolls and was nominated captain this season. Both her teams are enjoying winning streaks as the Dolls have won two in a row and the Hookers have won their last three, earning a spot in the 2012 Warrior Cup championship. She was voted MVP in the Hookers victory over the Broad Street Butchers in August.
Bert #2th jamming for her home team, Heavy Metal Hookers, versus the Broad Street Butchers in August.
“She’s amazing,” said Hookers’ and Dolls’ teammate The Cycrone! “She’s a great transformation story and she does a great job of working in her family life.”
And family has become a big part of what she does on the rink. Her children, nicknamed “Whoa Neelie” and “Tristan Shout” are regular fans at mom’s bouts. Her husband, who goes by “White Lotus”, has an even larger role as he helps coach the Liberty Belles and Hookers.
“He fell in love with the sport,” Bert said. “He loves the strategy and aggression. And when there is a bout, we sometimes forget that we’re married. It never feels like he plays favorites.”
Come see Miranda Slambert and her teammates, the Heavy Metal Hookers, take on the Philthy Britches this Saturday, September 8th! Buy your tickets here or at the box office at the Liacouras Center at Temple University.
Want to give to a good cause? Bring unused travel size hygiene kit items (deodorant, soap, toothpaste, floss, wipes, shampoo, conditioner, hand sanitizer, etc) to the bout and you will get a free raffle ticket for each item!!