From Math Teacher to Roller Derby Jammer

From Math Teacher to Roller Derby Jammer

Allison Barchichat sustained injuries and recently returned to the track to be an offensive jammer under her “Mommy Dearest” game name.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Peach State Roller Derby will play a home bout on Aug. 11 at Sparkles of Kennesaw. Allison Barchitchat is pictured second from right.
Peach State Roller Derby will play a home bout on Aug. 11 at Sparkles of Kennesaw. Allison Barchitchat is pictured second from right.

A story of grit and passion unfolded in Marietta as Allison Barchichat, a former high school math teacher who now owns and operates East Cobb Tutoring Center, recently embraced a thrilling new chapter in life as “Mommy Dearest,” a roller derby player with Peach State Roller Derby.

Allison claims she always had a desire to dive into something dynamic and unconventional. Although she did not skate as a child, the allure of roller derby piqued her interest.

She stated, “I have always wanted to play roller derby. The physicality of the sport appealed to me. I also love the fun spirit of the sport and, of course, the pun-filled derby names,” referencing her own alias, “Mommy Dearest.”

As a wife, mom and educator, Allison has the ability to multitask.

Despite her enthusiasm, Allison’s initial foray into roller derby was far from seamless. She recounted, “When I started training for roller derby, I could only skate in a forwards direction – roller rink style. I could not stop or skate backwards.”

The turning point came when Peach State Roller Derby held a new skater workshop right after the pandemic. From that moment, there was no looking back. “They taught me everything I needed to play,” she said. Now, her training regimen is rigorous, with sessions three times a week and monthly competitions against other teams in the Southeast.

The sport of roller derby is a thrilling spectacle of speed, strategy, and strength played by mostly women. Each team has five players on the floor at a time (up to 15 can be on the roster). It was developed as a contact sport around an oval track in Chicago in 1935. There are 1,250 amateur leagues worldwide, but mostly in the U.S. Each “bout” is around an hour comprised of a series of two-minute jams. Like many sports, there are fouls, penalties, and penalty boxes. One player is the jammer, trying to skate around the track as fast as possible to score points. The other four players are blockers, trying to prevent the opposing jammer from passing. The action is fast paced, with scores often reaching into the hundreds. Players cannot block with hands, elbows, head or feet.

Three blockers team up to prevent Allison, the jammer (in black), from skating by.Roller derby is not without its risks. Barchichat has firsthand experience with its physical demands. She recalled, “Yes. Roller derby is a dangerous sport, and even though we wear protective gear, injuries can happen. In October, I broke my leg and injured my sternum during a bout, which took me off skates until March of this year.”

To better protect herself, she now dons padded shorts and a chest protector in addition to the standard gear: roller derby quad skates, a helmet, mouth guard, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards.

(Left, in white) Barchitchat exudes real confidence alongside fake tattoos.

Peach State Roller Derby welcomes women over 18 with a range of skill levels. Barchichat found her niche as a jammer, utilizing her five-foot frame to her advantage. “I am an asset as a jammer on my team, hitting hard and weaving around larger blockers,” she says proudly. “The camaraderie within our team is palpable, fostering a supportive environment where every player finds her place.”

Spectators eager to witness the excitement should mark their calendars for Aug. 11, when Peach State Roller Derby plays a home game at Sparkles of Kennesaw. The sport’s growing popularity means more home games throughout the year, drawing enthusiastic crowds.

Outside the rink, Barchichat’s life is equally fulfilling. Her family, while not involved in roller derby, provides unwavering support. Additionally, she is an active member of Congregation Etz Chaim where she teaches seventh-grade religious school. Balancing her professional responsibilities with her passion for roller derby shows her spirit and ability to multitask.

Barchichat’s journey from the classroom to the roller derby track is a testament to her resilience and zest for life. She concluded, “I hope my story inspires others to pursue passions, no matter how daunting they may seem at the outset. As I continue to train, compete, and thrive, this aligns with the determination and joy that defines roller derby.”

Learn more about the team, meet the skaters and purchase tickets at

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