ROLLER DERBY SKATER
 
 
Judy Arnold's Story
   
 

At the age of 13, Judy Arnold was flipping through channels and watched her first roller derby game on a black and white television. Her first reaction was to turn off the TV. She didn't like the violence and the rough nature of the sport. But within the year, Judy and some neighborhood kids went down to the Armory in San Francisco to watch the San Francisco Bay Bombers practice. Judy was immediately captivated by the sound and speed of the skaters on the high, banked track, and that's when she fell in love with the sport and at the age of 13 she signed up to begin training.

Her professional career began at 16 when Judy was signed by the San Francisco Bay Bombers and in her first season she received Rookie of the Year. Her natural athletic grace and talent brought her to the top of the game quickly. In 1967 Judy was invited to be the captain of a team which was then called the Hawaiian Warriors, living and skating in Hawaii for about 2 and a half months. In the winter of 1967, the team moved to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia Warriors.

 
   

Every week, she took to the oval track with the roar of the crowd screaming her name. Her popularity and fame flourished as she traveled through the U.S. and internationally, through Japan, Puerto Rico, and Santa Domingo.

Judy made a few TV appearances on popular shows, including Mike Douglas and the Philadelphia talk show, Marcia Rose. People were fascinated by the beautiful Roller Derby star who appeared tough as nails but still had a tender heart.

The Noticeable Hole

In 1972, Hollywood released the film "Kansas City Bomber," starring Raquel Welch. Out on the track, wearing a long brunette wig, was Judy Arnold, doubling for Raquel in the skating scenes.

It was that experience that stuck with Judy, "I saw Raquel Welch, this beautiful, famous, talented, movie star, someone who had it all and yet, she wasn't happy," remembers Judy, "I couldn't get over that. I saw in Raquel, this very successful woman who just wasn't fulfilled.”

At this point in time, Judy herself was a superstar of Roller Derby. Considered one of its greatest skaters, she was at her peak.

 
 

What Judy witnessed in Raquel's life, made her very aware of the emptiness that she was feeling in her own. Around this same time, a fellow skater and friend, Sally Vega, told Judy that she needed God. This began her search, which lead her to a church in New Jersey. Dressed in hot-pants and go-go boots, Judy responded to the alter call, went forward and asked Jesus Christ to be her personal Lord and Savior.

"I knew immediately that this was what I had been missing, a relationship with my Creator. The relief, the forgiveness, and the wholeness that I felt was indescribable. Yet I continued to lace up my skates and hit the track. Praising God and then clobbering an opponent didn't sit well for long.”

Eighteen months later Judy Arnold, being obedient to what God was calling her to do, told her manager that she would be leaving her successful skating career for good. She's never looked back.

 
 
Giving It All Up To Gain Everything

In 1975, Judy unlaced her skates as a professional skater and enrolled in a Bible College. Intent on memorizing scripture and deepening her faith, Judy began by sharing her testimony in L.A. County Jail for women. She also became a Physical Education teacher in a private Christian school. Her ministry, at one point, taking her on the road to share her testimony and preach in churches throughout the United States, and to this day, continues to do so.

Judy still dons her uniform, skating in to speak with youth, sharing through her own experiences, the difficult choices facing adulthood. With typical hard-edged courage, she tackles head-on the pressures of being a teenager, sex, drugs, peer pressure and the temptation to lead a double life. Judy helps our youth understand that through Christ, they can handle any challenge and become all the Lord has created them to be.

 

Judy encourages adults in their walk with the Lord and speaks of healing, forgiveness and the sense of freedom that comes only through a relationship with Christ. She is practical and motivational, giving audiences the hope and encouragement to equip them to serve the Lord as He intended.

Judy also speaks at Women's luncheons and retreats, encouraging women to let go of bitterness, move forward in forgiveness and lead fulfilling lives as women, mothers, wives and friends.

Her testimony of God's faithfulness continues to bring new believers into the Kingdom.

 
  Rolling Over Challenges

In 2002, Judy started down a new road, one that would again leave her life changed forever. She met Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic, head of the International ministry, “Joni and Friends,” radio personality, and a driving force behind the American Disabilities Act. Moved by Joni’s ability to overcome the challenges in her life, Judy became involved in her ministries.

In 2004, Judy volunteered at “Family Retreats,” a camp for families affected by disabilities, another branch of the Joni & Friends ministry. There, she served as a companion to people with disabilities, helping them enjoy, rest and be ministered to, at the week-long camp. She was so moved and blessed by the experience, she has returned every year since.

Also in 2004, she went a step further and along with friend, Kara Ferris she began collecting donated, used wheelchairs and ambulatory equipment that people didn't want, or could no longer use. The equipment is collected, sent into several prisons throughout the U.S. and refurbished, then sent into foreign lands. Third World nations are in desperate need of workable wheelchairs and a touch from God. Every chair is sent with the gospel message of the salvation found in Jesus Christ.
   
Currently, Judy lives in Redding, California, traveling and speaking on a regular basis. Along with friends Victoria Robbins and Nancy Foreit, Truth Ministries was created. The trio present a number of workshops, the most popular entitled "Roots," which focuses on learning how to remove the roots of bitterness and experiencing the peace and freedom that comes with forgiveness.
  Coming Full Circle
 

Recently, Judy began attending Roller Derby reunions which are held throughout the United States, where once again, Judy dons her skates and uniform but this time, not to compete against the room full of her fellow skaters but instead, she is being given the opportunity to share with them, the fulfillment that she has enjoyed these many years because of that decision to leave and follow God’s new direction for her life.

It is Judy’s heartfelt desire to live out her days, sharing with others so that they too might come to know that fulfillment found in a life of serving her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Listen to Judy Share Her Heart ♥ ...

   
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