- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

BELLFONTE, Pa. (AP) - On most days you can see Susan “Suenami” Varner leave a roller derby bout with scratches, scrapes, bruises and, sometimes, broken bones.

That’s what happens when she does everything in her power to take down opponents on roller skates in an effort to rack up the most points.

But the wife and mother of two - along with the rest of her team - is better known off the rink as one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.

Once the game is done, the teams put aside the competition and go out for a drink or have a potluck meal.

“It’s fun and competitive. You go out and kick the crap out of each other, but there is a sisterhood among us,” Varner, 38, said. “But we leave all the blood, sweat and tears on the rink.”

Varner is part of the State College Area Roller Derby league, which started in 2010 as a way to bring a new sport to the area.

Varner, an original member, said the league struggled to find participants early on, but it has grown. The league held tryouts for the first time this year and added a team.

“The game is constantly evolving and changing,” Varner said. “We only see it growing.”

SCAR Derby has four teams, two of which are intraleague - Pennsyltucky Punishers and Mount Nittany Mayhem - and two composed of all-star skaters - Happy Valley Dolls and Plan B - that travel up to five hours to play.

Each team is made up of 20 adult women. Five skaters are allowed on the rink at a time. The objective is to skate around the rink in the same direction and gain points by passing the other team during two 30-minute halves.

The biggest rivals are the Roc City Roller Girls, from Rochester, N.Y., Varner said. But with that rivalry comes a strong friendship.

“They’re always the most competitive; (the bouts are) real nail-biters, but they’re always the most hospitable,” Varner said. “I think we agree we found a team we really like who have become sisters to us, even though we have to play against them.”

Fellow players Morgan “Claire Violent” Sample and Samantha-Rae “Culta Skaro” Tuthill said the bouts attract a few hundred attendees to the games that are played throughout the year.

The Dolls opened the season Saturday with a 267-107 win against the Iron Mountain Roller Girls, of Cumberland, Md.

As the bout began, the crowd got pumped. Families cheered, and “ooh’d” and “aah’d” as the skaters fell and pushed each other down.

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