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Lombard man cruisin’ for a bruisin’ . . . on skates

by Suzanne Bolur                                    
There’s nothing subtle about David Arias.      
Known as “The Mandozer,” Arias, 34, is a member of the Chicago Bruise Brothers, a men’s roller derby team.
“It’s not my style to be subtle,” Arias said. “So I might as well tell you what I’m going to do.”
Arias said the members all know each other by their derby names, which can be puns, word plays or allusions to pop culture. Often the names reflect the player’s personality or alter ego. 
“Dave Arias is a valued member of the Chicago Bruise Brothers and a fierce player on the track,” said Cheryl “CryBaby” Cryer, director of membership and coach/trainer of the team. “He lives up to his name.”
According to their Web site, the team was founded in 2011. The Chicago Bruise Brothers are the premiere men’s roller derby team in Chicago. They hold practices and home bouts at the Lombard Roller Rink. There are currently 30 members, with 20-22 members competing for the roster. A maximum of 14 players are on a roster for any given bout.
Arias has been a member of the Bruise Brothers for four years. Originally from Arlington Heights, Arias now lives in Lombard. After eight years of renting, including a house in Lombard, he said he fell in love with Lombard. In addition to the location and public transportation options, he said it felt like home.
“I just liked how it felt,” he said, adding that he’s lived in Lombard for two-and-a-half years. “I like riding through the area, walking through the area, skating through the area.”
 Arias became interested in roller derby after attending a bout in Aurora with his wife, Nikki Elatkin.
“Both my wife and I fell in love,” he said. The couple joined the DuPage Derby Dames, the premiere women’s flat track roller derby league in the western suburbs. Elatkin is a player, and her derby name is Dragon Harass. Arias is an official and through his involvement with that team, he heard about the Chicago Bruise Brothers.
Roller derby has been around since the 1930s, but grew in popularity in the early 2000s. Although originally played by both men and women, roller derby is currently dominated by women. The sport is now growing to include male and co-ed teams. 
Roller derby is played by two teams of 14 players who skate on four-wheeled roller skates. A bout is one hour long and consists of jams that last up to two minutes each. For each jam, five members skate around the track—one jammer and four blockers. The jammer scores points by lapping members of the other team, while the blockers attempt to obstruct the opposing jammer and assist their own jammer by clearing a path.
Arias, a blocker, said he was attracted to roller derby because of his background in competitive sports.
“It’s very rough and tumble,” he said. “But it was also small enough, especially in men’s roller derby, that theoretically we could compete to be number one. There are less than 50 teams worldwide in the men’s roller derby association. So even though sometimes it feels like the distance between where we are and where number one is is really significant, it still feels like it’s achievable.”
Arias graduated from Prospect High School in 1999 and attended Michigan State University and Northern Illinois University. Throughout high school and college, he was involved in football, wrestling and bowling.
“I liked the team aspect and physical aspect,” he said of the sports, adding that he’s missed the competitiveness he enjoyed in school.
Arias said when he was around 11 or 12 years old, he started inline skating. He said he would go to skate parks, and could even do some mediocre tricks. No roller skating ability is required to join the Bruise Brothers, and he thought he could easily pick it up. However, it turned out to be more difficult than he thought.
“I got there and told them I inline skated and they laughed a little bit,” he recalled.
Arias learned how to skate with help from the Bruise Brothers coaches. In addition, he took speed skating classes at another rink. He also spent time just skating around.
“What it comes down to is, you can read a book on how to skate but you still have to figure out what it feels like,” he said. “I spent probably more time than most people figuring that out, because I had been programmed for inline skating.”
Arias said the most important thing is having a commitment to learn. He recommends practicing about four times a week, for at least a few months.
The payoff is doing cool things,” he said. “When you start, you fall a lot, and you kind of feel [foolish]. You’ll get to the point where you feel cool on your skates and everything else gets easier.”
In addition to skating, there are other opportunities for people interested in roller derby, such as officiating, maintaining paperwork and volunteering at bouts.
Roller derby is a big commitment, both time and money wise. There are upfront equipment costs and league dues. Arias says it’s essential to purchase the right skates, which can be costly, because the skates need to fit like a glove and conform to your feet.
The team holds open practices at the Lombard Roller Rink every Wednesday night from 8:30-10:30 p.m. and Sunday morning from 9:30-11:30 a.m. They also have league-only practice on Saturday mornings in Chicago from 10 a.m. to noon Many members, like Arias, work full-time and have families.
“I make time for it because I value it,” said Arias, who works full-time for a non-profit and has a 10-year-old son, Nathan. “I value it like I value my relationships with people, my hobbies, my family. I don’t go out with friends on a Wednesday night. I don’t go drinking on a Saturday night because I know I’ll have to skate Sunday morning. I have to give up some social stuff, but I gain a community of wonderful people in exchange.”
In addition to skating, Arias said cross-training is also important. In addition to skating at least three days a week, he also works out. He said cardio is important so you don’t run out of steam, and core work is important for keeping your balance.
Arias said his strength as a player is that he’s a big guy, but also agile.
“I can cover the track as good as people half my weight,” he said. “It surprises people.”
Arias is also a strategic player, something he attributes to his interest in chess. Arias, an avid chess player who played in high school and college, envisions the track like a chess board.
“I keep an eye on what’s going on everywhere,” he explained. “I don’t get tunnel vision.”
Roller derby is a contact sport, so injuries do happen. Arias said common injuries include dislocated ankles, broken legs, separated shoulders and concussions, which all take a lot of time to heal. He said it’s not uncommon for a team to have one injured player per year.
“It’s a risk you have to take into consideration like any sport,” he explained. He said he’s had torn ligaments, but took time to rehab his injuries and came back stronger.
Arias said the team has struggled with internal fighting and commitments. However, he says they are in a better place now, they’ve got some new recruits and things are getting better.
“It feels really good,” said Arias. “I would much rather lose with the players that I have now than jump ship to one of the best teams. We like each other and we like the sport. We’re fiercely loyal to each other.”
Arias said the team competes in about 11 or 12 bouts per season and travels to places around Illinois, as well as places like Indiana and even Canada. The Bruise Brothers hosted their final home bout against the Capital City Hooligans from Springfield, Ill., this past Saturday at the Lombard Roller Rink.
According to Arias, the first period had 22 jams and the Bruise Brothers and the Hooligans were tied until Jam 11. At half-time, the Bruise Brothers were leading with a score of 76 to 48. The second half saw the Hooligans within striking distance, but the Bruise Brothers pulled ahead, resulting in a final score of 150 to 121.
“To give you an example of just how closely matched our two teams have been, this is the largest victory we’ve ever had over the Hooligans,” said Arias. “That particular margin could easily be wiped out in a single jam. The crowd was going wild; the bout was incredibly intense. It seriously is one of the best bouts both teams have played and it felt like it.”
The Bruise Brothers will be holding a recruitment night tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the Lombard Roller Rink, located at 201 W. 22nd St. The team has an open rolling recruitment, and encourages anyone who is interested to stop by.
To learn more about the Chicago Bruise Brothers, visit their Web site at http://www.chicagobruisebrothers.com. You can also view videos of their bouts at https://www.youtube.com/user/ChiBruiseBros.

Spooktacular makes its 10th annual appearance

Lombard Town Centre is excited to present the 10th annual Spooktacular in Partnership with Prairie Food Co-op on Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Lombard. Stop by for a fun-filled day of fall activities for the entire family while enjoying the downtown. 5/3 Bank, Lombard Plumbing & Supply and the Village of Lombard are the event’s premier sponsors.
Last year over 4,000 people attended the event to enjoy the petting zoo, live music, arts and crafts, bounce houses and trick-or-treating at the local businesses from noon to 2 p.m. You can also visit Nissan NEXT at the Lombard Town Centre Spooktacular Fall Festival to see the all-new, 2015 Platinum Nissan Murano.
The Dance Centre will start the day off on the stage with great performances followed by Mighty Joe Beatty bringing live music to the stage. This year a new activity has been added. Children will look for nine characters in the downtown. When all are found, they will receive a pumpkin as a prize. There is a $1 wristband charge for children who participate in the activities and adults are free.
Bring your dogs in costume to the Lombard Veterinary Hospital tent to be entered in a dog costume contest. You can also send your pictures to pictures@lombardvet.com to enter the contest.
“This event is a great way to show off our local businesses. Bringing families to the downtown to enjoy the music, games, vendors and activities while trick-or-treating is a fun way to highlight the season,” said Sarah Richardt, executive director of Lombard Town Centre.
Remember to come hungry and taste the greatness from Lombard’s local restaurants as well as the local food vendors.
Prairie Food Co-op will be selling doughnuts, cider and hosting the Plank Road Folk Players with square dancing in the street.
“Lombard Town Centre has many partners in the community and we are thrilled to partner with the Prairie Food Co-op this year,” shared Chris Cholewa, president of Lombard Town Centre. “Their community spirit and dedication to local business makes bringing the harvest theme to Spooktacular a great fit.”
Volunteers are still needed for the event to help with set-up, wristband sales, games, candy give-away and clean-up. Contact the Lombard Town Centre office at 630-620-8063 or director@lombardtowncentre.org if you can help. It takes a village to run events.

Fire department to ‘think pink’ during October

Lombard Fire Department firefighters will be wearing pink shirts throughout the month of October, in an effort to raise awareness during breast cancer awareness month. Residents and village staff have also purchased the same shirts in order to raise funds for local charities that raise money to buy wigs for women in treatment.
“Everyone was so responsive when we started this last October, and this year even more people wanted to participate,” said Lombard firefighter/ paramedic Bob Hopper, an organizer of the cause. “We’ve had a great response so far from the community and we’re really happy with how they turned out.”
Lombard Fire Chief Paul DiRienzo approved the option to wear these shirts throughout the month of October, and emphasized that wearing the pink shirts is not a requirement.
“I’m proud of our firefighters. They care about the community and they’re genuinely excited to be able to raise awareness of the cause,” DiRienzo said. “This is a simple way for us to do something extra for anyone that has been affected by breast cancer.”
DiRienzo also confirmed that no village funds were used to purchase the T-shirts.
For more information contact Communications Coordinator Avis Meade at 630-620-5718 or e-mail meadea@villageoflombard.org.

Special Alarm Fire stirkes Lombard home

On Oct. 5, at 8:49 p.m., the Lombard Fire Department responded to a report of a bedroom fire in a single family home on the 1100 block of S. Finley Road.
According to Lombard Battalion Chief Marty Coomes, arriving crews found fire rolling out of a first floor window of the two story residence and a neighbor was attempting to extinguish the fire from the exterior of the home with a garden hose.
The incident was upgraded to a Special Alarm which brought in additional responding fire apparatus from neighboring communities. The fire was under control in a short period of time. However, the fire created smoke and heat damage throughout the home. All residents were able to self-evacuate after being alerted of the fire by their smoke detectors. The estimated damage to the structure and contents is approximately $50,000.
The origin and cause of the fire remains under investigation. The Lombard Department was assisted at the scene by the Villa Park and Oakbrook Fire departments, and both Addison and York Center Fire Protection Districts. Wheaton and Downers Grove Fire departments as well as Glenside Fire Protection District helped by providing coverage at Lombard’s fire stations during the fire.

Fire department hydrant testing over six weeks

 Lombard Fire Department crews are currently conducting annual fall fire hydrant flow testing. Crews will visit more than 500 hydrants over the course of a six-week testing period.
The fire hydrant testing program is a way to evaluate the village’s water pumping and water distribution system. Data gathered from this program benefits the fire department, the fire prevention bureau and public works. Testing crews will be concentrating their efforts in this program for approximately six weeks.
During hydrant testing, pairs of hydrants are thoroughly inspected and operated. Flow readings are taken to evaluate system capability to provide sufficient water supply for fire suppression crews during a fire, commercial and residential water needs and public work’s water department needs.
During hydrant testing, residents may experience the following conditions; a temporary drop in water pressure when crews are in the area, water may be rusty (a reddish color caused by iron deposits), or cloudy or “milky” water (caused by undissolved oxygen in the water that will dissipate within a few minutes). These conditions do not affect the quality and safety of the water, only appearance.
If you experience discolored or cloudy water, shut off the water and wait several minutes then run the cold water for a few minutes or until the water clears. Avoid doing laundry during hydrant flushing; white clothes may become stained if the water is not properly cleared first. Wash a load of dark clothes first before doing bright or white clothes. If water pressure or flow seems low, check  the faucet aerators screens for sediment. For more information including   a  video and a map, visit  the village’s Web site at villageoflombard.org/hydrant flushing.
When you see a testing crew in your area, avoid running tap water and washing clothes until the flushing is completed. Drive carefully around any open running hydrant, watch for fire department personnel, and keep children away from the open hydrants and testing crews. Feel free to call the public works department at 630-620-5740 with any questions or concerns.