The day the doctor released her from recovering from a C-section, Jeanni Fichthorn, Wernersville, joined the roller derby. She has been with the Reading Derby Girls since 2012, strutting her stuff on team D’Railers.
Fichthorn, now known as Pain Train, says she skated before, but very little. When she was asked to join the team while watching her kids play ice hockey, she was unfamiliar with derby and had to do a little research.
Right away, she knew she loved the sport.
“It is so fun to play and is a fantastic workout,” Fichthorn said. “I have met so many wonderful and inspiring people. How could you not want to be surrounded by people like that?”
Derby offers both physical and mental challenges for the mother of four. Fichthorn’s children are ages 15, 13, 8 and 20 months.
“They all skate,” said the mom, “My three older kids play roller hockey, even my daughter, and my little one is just starting.”
Fichthorn is a proud mother, and is amazed at how far her children have advanced. But it’s not only her children that make her proud.
Through joining the Reading Roller Girls, Fichthorn has improved her lifestyle and lost over 60 pounds.
“It is amazing how everything you can’t do becomes an opportunity to succeed and be proud of yourself,” she said. “ has done wonders for my self-esteem and encouraged me to be more healthy and fit. Sometimes I still can’t believe the person I see in the mirror.” Fichthorn loves that the sport allows for no limits, and provides an opportunity to push yourself.
Always having something to work on through practices, training and bouts, Pain Train knows where she needs to improve. “ hitting for sure. I need improvement in so many areas of it. I also need to not hold back and go for it more often,” she said.
The act of hitting someone out of bounds is one move that she loves. “It is such a big advantage to the opposing players position. I want to improve on a few ways to do that,” Fichthorn said.
There is a strong importance of being a team player in roller derby, sticking together through the thick and thin. As a derby girl, she tries to help out the team as much as possible. “I try to always remain a team player and stay positive,” she said, “I feel that it really helps when your team knows they can rely on you.”
Luckily, Pain Train hasn’t seen any serious injury from the sport, just the typical black and blue marks. “I remember hitting my chin on the floor my first practice,” she said, “I have been sucking it up and jumping back in ever since.”
It is the support from the other derby girls and her family that keep Fichthorn fueled and coming back.
“I have so much help, support and encouragement It is amazing how active they are with my participation in this sport,” she said.
Pain Train plans to continue with derby for “as long as I can make it happen” but wants to stick out the next four years to be able to play with her daughter when she turns 18.
“I was always the one cheering them on. It is pretty neat for me to take a turn, or should I say a few laps, out on the rink.”
The Ready Derby Girls meet at Skateaway, 2275 Lancaster Pike, Shillington. The Reading Derby Girls will be holding a car wash from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 29 at Skateaway.