Melissa Faliveno


Melissa Faliveno

Three years ago, I moved from Madison to New York. Compared to the Midwest, this city doesn't see much in the way of storms. Gone were the days of late-spring thunder, those huge cracks of sound that shook the house of my youth. No more were the eerie green skies; no more were the sirens -- those long, low cries that stretch across counties, igniting both anticipation and abject fear. Even so, I'm always prepared. more

Nov 2, 2012 12:22 AM Scenes

If you are a longtime fan of the Mad Rollin' Dolls, you might recall a rainy night at the Duck Pond late in the summer of 2006. It wasn't a Madison Mallards baseball game you triedto see through the veil of steady drizzle, though, it was a roller derby bout, played on a portable track in right field. more

Aug 19, 2009 7:00 PM Sports

Throughout the first four years of Mad Rollin' Dolls roller derby, the Unholy Rollers and Vaudeville Vixens volleyed between third and last place. Derby is hardly a static sport, though, and now at the end of the league's fifth season, these historic underdogs will lace up their skates, strap on their helmets, and battle for the championship trophy this Saturday. And they didn't get there without a fight. more

May 15, 2009 3:00 PM Sports


Derek Lang

Team Unicorn is a non-sanctioned travel team, meaning it's non-WFTDA-ranked and plays similarly non-sanctioned teams from all over the country. Simply put: They do it for the love of derby. And the love of unicorns. And rainbows. And sparkly tights. more

Apr 23, 2009 8:00 PM Sports


Papa Razzi

During this fifth season of roller derby in Madison, the Dolls have seen a lot of changes. But one element that remains tried and true -- and one without which roller derby could hardly function -- is the officials. more

Apr 2, 2009 11:00 PM Sports

This Saturday, the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller derby league will be hosting their fourth bout of the 2009 season at the Alliant Energy Center. If you've had the chance to catch a bout this season, you've probably noticed a lot of fresh new faces -- and, of course, catchy new names -- out on the track. more

Mar 19, 2009 5:00 PM Sports

Last Sunday, I had the chance to do something I don't do nearly enough these days: go bowling. And, really, the only thing that's better than a few games of bowling over a few towering glasses of beer is getting to do it all for charity. more

Mar 5, 2009 5:00 PM Sports

This is not the Raquel Welch and "Kansas City Bomber" sort of roller derby that reigned in the '70s. This isn't even the roller derby of 2004, which early fans might have caught at Fast Forward Skate Center when the Mad Rollin' Dolls started to take shape. No, this is athletic. This is real. There are no rails, there are no fights, and there is certainly nothing staged or pre-determined about it. This is a sport. And while there might still be a few elements of camp remaining, this roller derby is as bona fide as it gets. more

Jan 29, 2009 9:00 PM Sports

The Mad Rollin' Dolls have polished their bearings and tuned up their quads, and will kick off the 2009 home season this Saturday in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center. "We're sincerely glad of all the support and love that Madison has shown us over the last four years, and we look forward to an incredible fifth season" beams Alison Janssen, the Unholy Rollers veteran known on the track as "Mel Ignant." more

Jan 8, 2009 7:00 PM Sports

It was the end of an era on Saturday night, as the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller derby league bade 2008 -- and four years of play at Fast Forward Skate Center -- a fond farewell. more

Dec 15, 2008 9:00 PM Sports

After three days of hard-hitting, fast-paced, eight-wheeled excitement over the weekend, Derby in Dairyland came to an end, but not without leaving a lasting impression on every skater, volunteer, and fan that took part in the fun. The 2008 Women's Flat Track Derby Association Eastern Regional roller derby tournament was, to say the very least, a success, and while host team and hometown sweethearts the Dairyland Dolls may not have made the cut to go to the nationals, they certainly put together one heck of a celebration that won't soon be forgotten. more

Oct 15, 2008 6:30 PM Sports


Mad Rollin' Dolls

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire city to plan a major sports tournament. No one knows this more than the Mad Rollin' Dolls. The Women's Flat Track Derby Association annual Eastern Regional Tournament -- this year aptly named Derby in Dairyland -- will bring 240 skaters from the best leagues east of the Mississippi along with hundreds of staff and volunteers, and throngs of loyal fans to Madison. And making it happen is no roll in the park. more

Oct 8, 2008 7:00 PM Sports


Papa Razzi

As "senior year" for the Mad Rollin' Dolls came to a close last Saturday with the Quad Squad winning the championship, and as the fourth season of national-level play begins, it's clear that change is in the air. As a second-year skater, I've only seen a fraction of the growth that's occurred within both the league and the larger world of roller derby -- and even that small portion often seems monumental. more

May 15, 2008 4:07 PM Sports

Under the new leadership of star jammer and crowd-pleaser Mouse, the Reservoir Dolls have seen some changes in 2008. I took a time-out for a little Q&A with Res Dolls' co-captain, B'Dunkadunk, who bench manages the team this year, to check in with the fan-favorite skate crime syndicate. more

Mar 20, 2008 3:27 AM Sports

As this weekend's second bout of the Mad Rollin' Dolls 2008 season quickly approaches, it's time to get to know another of the league's four home teams. Boasting some of the fastest and strongest players in the league and a 2006 title, the Quad Squad is a lean, mean, and very green machine. more

Feb 20, 2008 11:11 PM Sports

Without further ado, meet everyone's favorite undead underdogs, the Unholy Rollers. For a team that once harbored a bit of "bad girl" status, these bloodthirsty ladies in red haven't had much luck with wins in the past few seasons. But under the new leadership of third-year jammer WildBerry Punch, the unholy ones are looking to brush off the cobwebs, climb out of their coffins, and show the league what the dark side of derby can do. more

Jan 23, 2008 7:29 PM Sports

I pulled my car into a vast parking lot on Madison's far west side and prepared nervously for battle. It was a warm afternoon in late September. The sun was shining, the world was still green. My last fall semester at the university had just begun, and sheer, invincible happiness was in the air. more

Jan 11, 2008 4:00 PM Isthmus Cover Stories


Pappa-RAZZi for the Mad Rollin' Dolls

A bevy of clever seasonal nicknames were tossed around the rink (my personal favorite was a tie between Yule Shoot Your Eye Out and Faggy Pudding), while fans got their photos snapped with the Mall Rabbi, grabbed obligatory beers, and settled in for a festival of fights -- one part naughty, one part nice. more

Dec 17, 2007 5:23 PM Sports


Daniella Echeverria for the Mad Rollin' Dolls

A fresh blanket of snow, neighborhoods bathed in glowing light, packed malls and surly street-corner Santas, a tendency toward heavy drinking and stress-induced fits of road rage... yep, the holidays are here. For many people throughout the world, this evokes images of family, faith, tradition, and ridiculous amounts of consumption. But for a decent chunk of the population -- and for many of us Madisonians -- this time of year means something entirely different: It's time to get subversive. more

Dec 13, 2007 9:11 PM Sports

The leaves are falling, there's a chill in the air, and the skies have turned from blue to gray. And while much of Madison has hung up their running shoes and hunkered down, a group of dedicated, determined, and seriously kick-ass women have been getting up before the cows, working hard, and busting their bodies into peak physical condition to prepare for battle. more

Oct 19, 2007 8:26 PM Sports