When Casey Hammond was a little girl, her mother called her "Casey Chaos." The nickname stuck, and it foreshadowed Hammond's later transformation into a rough-and-tumble Hellgate Rollergirl.
"I was such a little tyrant," recalls Hammond, now 18. "I just caused trouble all the time. It was either that or 'Casey Cupcake.' I don't know if that would go well with derby."
Hammond's tyrannical nature suits her well as she creates a Hellgate Rollergirl Junior League for young women ages 12-17. The idea came to her last year when her mother, also intrigued by the sport, made plans to attend a Rollergirl practice. Hammond badly wanted to attend, but her mom told her she couldn't because Hammond was only 17 at the time and Rollergirl rules forbid anyone under 18 from skating.
"I had the biggest crybaby fit ever," Hammond says. "I was like, 'Mom, I really want to go to this. You don't understand.'"
Hammond's mom succumbed and took her daughter to watch the ladies practice. After that first glimpse, Hammond kept going back. She watched practices from the sidelines, learning and helping out, tidying up around the Rollergirls' Toole Avenue warehouse until she finally turned 18 in December.
As soon as Hammond hit the rink, she was hooked.
"I think it's a really good way to get rid of some aggressive behavior, emotions that you're keeping in, in a safe, healthy way," she says.
Now Hammond finds herself working to offer the opportunity to younger girls. She's receiving a significant amount of support from the local derby league. In fact, one of the league's original founders, Marlana "M. Kneesya" Kosky, agreed to be Hammond's mentor.
"She's just a super self-motivated girl," Kosky says.
Apparently, she's also smart. The lanky Hellgate High School senior figured out a way to incorporate roller derby into her schoolwork—launching the junior league is her senior class project. Hammond aims to recruit enough girls to hold a bout before graduation in May.