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Rolling to Recovery: Tattooed and Bruised

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Camille Loose
Camille Loose of the Gainesville Roller Rebel All-Star roller derby team. Photo Courtesy of Camille Loose

Camille Loose, 30, is a modern-day, tatted-up, stay-at-home mom with a 2-year-old, a 14-year-old, seven chickens, a basset hound and a husband.

However, Loose’s home life says little about her life as a hard hitting blocker/jammer for the Gainesville Roller Rebel All-Star roller derby team.

While on the rink, Loose doesn’t go by her given name, but rather the one she chose as her alter ego, the one she earned as a right of passage.

She is Jane Dough, number 420.

Loose’s hands tremble when she brings her organic American Spirit cigarette to her lips for a drag, but beyond that, her sunny disposition on life betrays nothing of her own tumultuous past.

How she became the modern Renaissance woman who skates to the beat of her own drum wasn’t necessarily a simple journey.

But Loose said with conviction that she is better for it.

Instability

Her mother was a criminal and her absentee father a biker.

“He’s a Vietnam vet. I don’t know how much more I can say about that,” Loose said with a clear smile in her voice. “I have to take him in small doses, and I love him.”

She spent most of her life with her mother in Massachusetts, until one summer day she and all her belongings were packed into a twodoor car and driven down to Florida.

Without any further explanation, Loose and her mother moved in with her stepfather the summer before third grade.

“So that’s kind of how things were, very unknown,” Loose said. “My mother had a definite reputation of being a constant fabricator and elaborator.”

Loose’s mother’s addiction played a large role in her own life’s instability.

Her mother visited the methadone clinic in West Palm Beach every day before she took Loose to school, 45 minutes away.

At such a young age, Loose didn’t know what methadone was.

“I knew it was so ‘mommy wasn’t sick.’”

Loose always suspected that something was amiss.

As a child, Loose recalled going to her mother about a headache and being handed a capful of methadone pills.

“I remember being like, ‘I want children’s Tylenol, that’s scary!’” she said. “I would actually turn it away as a super young child.”

At just 16, shortly after her first son, Jimmy, was born, Loose became addicted to methadone for three years.

She has been clean since 2004.

Family Life

Camillle Loosen
Camille Loose isn’t just a blocker/jammer for the Gainesville Roller Rebel All-Star roller derby team. She is also a mother to Jimmy, 14, and Weston, 2 and wife to Dan Loose. Photo Courtesy of Camille Loose

Loose has now found God and is a fiercely dedicated parent to 14-year-old Jimmy and 2-year-old Weston.

“I look at my mother as an example, and I try to do that with a lot of things,” she said. “People can either be an asset or, you know, not.”

Loose uses her mother’s failed parenting techniques as a driving force to make her own better. She says she is honest and straightforward with her family because her mother was not with her.

“I can be very matteroffact, but it’s because I don’t really know a lot of my upbringing,” she said. “What I was told, it could have just been some crazy story from some crazy lady.”

She said she homeschools her son Jimmy on a King James Version of the Bible curriculum.

When she talks about him, her eyes light up, and she shifts in her chair in excitement. The cigarette in her hand becomes long forgotten as she gestures with enthusiasm about how her son loves to read and is a gifted student and wrestler.

Because of her upbringing, Loose set a goal of marriage and stability for herself. She studied it with due diligence. She took two classes and wrote a book with her husband, Dan.

“To make up for some of the bad experiences in my own kind of psychologicaltherapeutic way,” she said.

Loose and her husband have just celebrated six years together. Loose says it takes a lot of work, but it is worth it.

Dan Loose, 37, has been a tattoo artist for the past 20 years. They met when she was his client.

He said tattooing her now is definitely added pressure.

Despite their unique lives and non-mainstream appearance, Dan Loose always imagined more traditional gender roles in his household.

Growing up, his mother was a stayathome mom while his dad managed the finances.

“I took that as how things were, not that we’re “Leave It To Beaver’s” family!” he said.

That fact was clear enough.

Inside their yellow-and-purple-walled home, “Nick Jr.” played on the TV as the curly haired, 2-year-old Weston ran around and a melting faux Salvador Dali clock ticked away the minutes.

Jimmy near-burned something in their immaculately clean kitchen and Dan measured out half apple juice, half water into a sippy cup with the trained precision of a practiced parent.

“I think she likes staying home, but that it’s difficult with a teenager,” Dan Loose said.

With a 2-year-old son, things can get hectic too.

“I don’t expect her to have dinner on the table when I get home,” he said. “We have a 2year-old, and we work on his schedule.”

Dan is very adamant about his admiration for his wife. He recognized freely her early struggle in life but praises her as both a mother and wife.

“She’s a good woman, a strong woman,” he said.

Derby Darling

Gainesville Roller Derby
Camille Loose and the Gainesville Roller Rebel All-Star roller derby team. Photo Courtesy of Camille Loose

With all the chaos, Loose finds refuge in roller derby like her stereotypical housewife predecessors dating back to the 1930s.

“I just came to the derby as a damaged (person), you know? I feel like derby saved my life, and I’m OK with that.”

Loose said derby is one of the most accepting places there is.

“Because I’ve been on the other side of life, I’ve had way less, I’ve seen way worse and there’s just things you can do in your life to keep yourself away from those things. Positive things like sports.”

Why did she pick the name Jane Dough? She said that it’s her way of being outspoken about her lack of faith in the government.

“It’s a legal place holder — to withhold the identity of a person claimant, petitioner, defendant and so it falls into doing my own thing, having my own system, governing myself,” she said. “I have zero faith in our government, zero belief in it. I have more faith in myself.”

Choosing a derby name and number is a right of passage, dating back to the sport’s roots.

But no longer is roller derby the WWE-esque showmanship sport that it used to be. Since the establishment of Women’s Flat Track Derby Association in 2004, derby has become a very competitive co-op sport.

“I think it builds confidence,” Loose said. “There’s so many selfconscious and unsure people in this world, that there’s so few people willing to take a stand.”

Loose said she had confidence already, but derby has allowed it to blossom.

“Derby allowed my confidence to rub off on some of the less confident girls. I don’t know, but I hear it does,” she said.

“I think a lot of my teammates look up to me, you know, I just try to encourage them, that with the same amount of time, the potential is there for them, and try to let the water roll off your shoulders.”

Gainesville Roller Rebel All-Star teammate Angela Martin only had high praises to sing of Jane Dough.

“What Jane really brings to the team is a bubbly personality,” she said.

Martin said that practices become monotonous, and Loose is good at keeping things fresh. She never forgets to have fun, she said.

But when it comes to competing, Martin said that Loose flips a switch.

“It’s like a new Jane; she’s aggressive and hardhitting,” she said. “She’s super quick on her feet and that’s important.”

According to Martin, she is the kind of derby dame that everyone wants in her line up because she is good at what she does.

When talking about her future, she speaks about it like she has with everything else — with a bright smile and unmatched eagerness.

“Good things, goods things in my future, only good things in my future,” she said. “More milestones and more successes and more experiences.”

Loose paused for a moment.

“More paying it forward, too,” she said.

And of course, more derby.

About Destiny Johnson

Destiny is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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