BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The sport of roller derby has had its share of adversity, from being a national phenomenon to getting pushed out of sight at roller rinks. The same thing can be said about Bakersfield's Diamond Divas, but at their first event since covid shut them down, the Divas say they feel like they're here to stay.
At Skateland in Bakersfield where the Divas hold court, fans packed in to watch the return of roller derby to the city.
It doesn't look like a community that almost lost its favorite sport. Team president Tina McGlasson is getting her squad ready for Divas' first season since 2019.
"That was the hardest thing of all is getting people to buy into coming back. Having hope that we could get together and form a team that would be competitive, so it feels wonderful to see it actually come to fruition tonight," said McGlasson.
At the youth level, their co-ed team was ranked number 1 in the world for 2 years. They hope to repeat their success with the Divas, and growing the game in Kern County is one of their top priorities.
"Every Monday night for sure we will be practicing from 6:30 to 9:00," said McGlasson. "It's a great time to come for your mental and physical health and build on that and create an infectious thing that other people want to join."
On the track, the Diamond Divas looked like they never had a lay-off, opening with a huge victory over V-Town Roller Derby out of Visalia.
But for the Divas, McGlasson, whose track name is Twisted Tuna, and teammate Loco Puffs say roller derby is about so much more than winning.
"The feeling, the friendship, the camaraderie. It's like a sisterhood. We do a lot of volunteer work and a lot of philanthropy. It's like a whole thing together, because it's not just a sport."