'Lucky Ducky' finds her home on roller derby team
TORII STATION, Okinawa -- Being part of a military family has its challenges to include the constant moving and re-establishing of oneself every time you change duty stations.
Just like the children's story "The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Christen Anderson, one duck on Okinawa has truly lived up to this story and found a home with the Kokeshi Roller Doll Derby League.
This duck's name is Lucky Ducky No. 88, a rookie to roller derby, who quickly rose to become a team captain for the Doll Star Team of the Kokeshi Roller Doll Derby League. In her civilian life she is known as Karyn Kuniyuki, a stay-at-home mother to three boys and spouse to Maj. Yukio Kuniyuki, operations officer for the 10th Regional Support Group.
Kuniyuki got her first pair of roller skates when she was three years old and skated for fun at Interskate 88 in her hometown of Oneonta, N.Y. She pays homage to those fond memories by using their number as her derby number but like most little girls she gave up skating in pursuit of other things.
Fast forward to 2013, Kuniyuki is the proud mother of three boys and hasn't played organized sports since her college days at Rochester Institute of Technology.
When asked about how she found roller derby Kuniyuki said, "During our PCS to Okinawa we took a weekend trip to New Hampshire and the only thing eye-catching in the local 'What's Happening' advertisements was women's roller derby. From the first moment we sat beside the track, I was filled with a feeling of excitement and happiness. The fishnet stockings, dramatic makeup and sexy nicknames were well out of my comfort zone, but the roller skating itself -- I can totally do that, I thought."
Once Kuniyuki arrived to Okinawa, "Ducky" was born. This lucky duck performed so well during her rookie season that she was voted in as a team captain for the leagues premiere charter team who will travel to tournaments and play for Women's Flat Track Derby Association ranking, only four months after putting skates back on.
"Being a part of KRD has truly changed my life," said Kuniyuki. "During my very first game I was voted MVP for my team; at that moment I thought, I'm not satisfied with yoga classes and carpools, I am so much more than just a mom. I've gained back my self esteem and a sense of purpose outside of my role as a stay-at-home mother to three boys. I'm happier, less stressed, physically stronger and on a remote island in the Pacific I am surrounded by more 'family' than I have been at any other duty station.
"This group of women takes care of each other, know how to get a job done and have a blast doing it," Kuniyuki continued. "Don't let the tattoos, the crazy-colored hair and the scant apparel of stereotypical derby girls scare you away from trying roller derby. The alter-ego is the most fun of all. You get to be 'super woman' and legally hit other people, hard, on skates all weekend and then go back to your day job on Monday with your sanity intact."
Not only do these women skate but the Kokeshi Roller Dolls Derby League also give back to the community on a regular basis. For more information on the league, check out their website at http://www.kokeshirollerdolls.com/.