By Joan Weiner

Eve L. Twin is a hip-checking, shoulder-shoving roller derby fanatic. Which isn’t obvious unless the 4-foot-11 graphic designer is dressed in helmet and pads, fishnets and shorts.

Like the other participants in the Monterey Bay Derby Dames league, Cassie Torda (CD ’12) displays athleticism, strength and strategy while on the track. “It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I do it,” Cassie said. “At first, the appeal was the physical aspect and the alter ego we could have, but it grew to be much more than that.”

She cites the hard work and discipline involved, and the passion. “To do roller derby, you need passion. Without the passion and the heart, it’s hard to stick to it. It’s not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle,” she said.

Cassie’s twin sister, Catrina (CSIT ’12), a software developer for the Department of Defense, is attracted by the camaraderie. “It’s built from looking out for each other while we’re on the track, and the countless hours of practice where we push each other to be better skaters,” said the woman who goes by Smalls of Fury when she’s skating.

What makes a derby skater tough? According to Cassie, it’s not the bruises or the hard hitting. “It’s the fact that we can get hit over and over again, fall, but always get back up and try harder.”

And, despite all the hits and falls, neither Cassie nor Catrina has suffered a serious injury. Said Cassie: “I’ve re-sprained my ankle a couple of times, but the first sprain was not from roller derby. It was from long boarding.”