Put her in uniform, and she’s Coon Rapids police officer Danielle Forsman.
Put her on the track, and she’s “Whoopsie Daisy,” an all-star roller derby competitor ready to take out the other team in a sport that’s neither fake nor scripted.
“It’s a very real, contact-aggressive sport,” said Forsman, of Coon Rapids.
After seven years with the sport, Forsman is a co-captain of the Dagger Dolls in the Minnesota Roller Derby league, and she’s on Minnesota’s all-star team for the second year in a row.
During the week, Forsman works as a patrol officer on night shift — 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. She’s been patrolling the streets and responding to service calls for about a year.
“It’s kind of what you would think of a stereotypical police officer,” Forsman said.
She steers away from the stereotype during her practices and bouts (matches) with her roller derby team.
Teams score points when “jammers” lap the other team. Each round, there are four blockers and one jammer for each team on the track. Blockers try to stop the opposing team’s jammer from passing them. Each play, called a “jam,” can last up to two minutes.
Although skating is central to the sport, Forsman started out with no skill.
“I started as a wall clinger and then learned how to skate,” Forsman said.
She initially got into the sport because her sister launched a league in St. Cloud and encouraged Forsman to join.
“My sister and I were always rough-and-tumble-type people,” Forsman said.
She remembers her sister saying, “Oh, my gosh, you would love this sport.”
After some resistance Forsman finally joined the league and fell in love with the sport.
Since then, she’s improved year after year.
“There’s so much to learn, and there’s always something to get better at,” Forsman said.
Dana Johnson, who uses the name “Val Kyrie” on the track, said Forsman is a tough competitor.
“It’s terrible when I have to jam against her,” Johnson said.
About three years ago, Forsman joined the Minnesota Roller Derby league based in the Twin Cities.
She was attracted to the team because they’re heavily involved in the community — and she didn’t have to drive all the way to St. Cloud.
“We’re an extremely tight-knit group,” Johnson said of the team.
Forsman’s older sister is also in the league.
The league is a nonprofit, so Forsman said she’s had a lot of opportunities to volunteer in the cities.
Going from St. Cloud’s league to the Minnesota league was like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues, Forsman said. Practicing and competing at Roy Wilkins in St. Paul is surreal for her.
“It just blows your mind,” she said. “It’s like you made it.”
Out of the 350-plus teams worldwide, the Minnesota league ranks 39th, according to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Forsman said the team has been as high as 11th worldwide.
“We’re very competitive,” she said.
Anywhere from 1,700 to 2,500 people attend any given bout — enough to give the team members a case of stage fright every so often.
“We all have our nervous rituals,” Forsman said.
The Minnesota All-Stars team travels around the country, and sometimes internationally, to compete against other teams from around the globe. This year the team is going to South Carolina, Arizona, Chicago, Seattle and Canada.
Last summer Forsman broke her leg and couldn’t skate for a while. That didn’t stop her.
“I got right back at it, so I made All-Stars again this year,” Forsman.
The traveling season begins in late April and can end as early as July or go as late as November, depending on how far along in post-season the team makes it.
Forsman and her team, the Dagger Dolls, have a semifinals bout coming up at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, 175 West Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at bit.Ly/37fcDxX.