As the end of Rat City Roller Derby’s 15th season rolled around this year, the league said farewell to longtime All Star blocker, #94 Holly Botts. Her accomplishments as a skater, a coach, and a leader among her teammates have greatly impacted the growth and success of Rat City over the last several years.
Holly’s derby career began in 2010 in Port Angeles, Washington. Though she had some artistic skating experience from her youth, Holly and her sisters were founding members of Port Scandelous Roller Derby, neither of them having any prior derby experience at all. The seemingly impossible feat proved itself to be a successful endeavor for them both. During her 4 years with Port Scandalous, her 15-year old son Dylan Botts helped out as a referee, NSO, and coach. He eventually started playing roller derby as well with the Puget Sound Outcasts, a men’s league in the Seattle area.
“I think the unconventional mother-son dynamic worked in our favor,” said Dylan, “We were able to make it more of a collaborative effort. She helped me become a better coach and I helped her become a better skater because we were able to provide each other with constant constructive feedback.”
Holly and her son relocated to Seattle in 2014, which was when Holly joined Rat City Roller Derby and was immediately drafted to a home team, Derby Liberation Front. Within a year she was welcomed onto the Rat City All Stars. For the last 5 years, both Holly and her son Dylan have contributed to Rat’s teams as highly experienced and knowledgeable skater coaches. She has coached Derby Liberation Front, Puget Sound Outcasts, and the Seattle Derby Brats Galaxy Girls.
The impact that roller derby has had on Holly’s life is immeasurable. The boost in overall self-confidence that came from diving right in and committing to this sport is just one of the things she is grateful for. She also has had many opportunities to travel across the country and the world, coaching and playing derby in places like London, Wales, Finland, and Amsterdam.
Roller derby in Seattle quickly became a family affair for Holly. In addition to her son also skating and coaching, Holly’s sister skated for Rat City’s Sockit Wenches, and her niece skated with the Seattle Derby Brats junior team. Holly’s involvement in coaching for Rat City also led her to meet her current partner.
Dylan Botts admires his mom and the support she has given him along the way. “She taught me the importance of being goal oriented and putting in theeffort required to get what you want. I saw this in the work she did on and off the track to accomplish every goal she set for herself,” he said.
Although Holly Botts is stepping away from playing derby with the Rat City All Star Program, her skating career is not over. She and Dylan with both be coaching the Galaxy Girls, and Holly has now taken up the fun new hobby of park skating. Holly is looking forward to this new chapter of her life, and having more free time to spend with her partner Tia, who supported her through her derby career. She and Dylan also plan to making time for traveling (“without skating the whole time!” she said) and do more outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
Written by Rowan Shade and AC Slayed Her, January 2020