What do you get when you take a group of even-tempered well-mannered ladies, slip them into fishnet stockings, booty shorts, roller skates, fall protection and let them choose names for themselves like Cruely Sue, Malice May, Sistah Viberosis, Mutt Diver, Portia De Saucy or Mortu Mary?
(Flat Track) Roller Derby.
(Image © Richard Krueger. Used with permission.)
The game is played on an oval circuit track. Two teams send five members each onto the track for the jam (a two-minute shift during which points are scored). The two players at the front of the pack are the “pivots” (they sport stripes on their helmets) and set the pace for the pack. The next six members are the “blockers” and provide defence for their team. It is the job of the blocker to do everything (legal) in her power not to allow the “jammer” to pass her. The jammers are the final two players in the pack (who wear stars on their helmets) and are the designated point scorers. The “first jammer to legally pass all pivots and blockers once the jam begins wins the status of lead jammer for the remainder of the jam. The lead jammer can decide to end the jam at any time before the 2 minutes are up. She does this by placing her hands on her hips repeatedly, which signals the referee to officially call off the jam” (Wikipedia). The goal of the pivots and blockers is to prevent opposing jammers to pass them and to create opportunities for their jammers to attain lead jammer status.
My roller derby cherry was popped on Saturday, March 12th. (This is not to say that I participated in any way other than cheering – I’m a sidelines kind of gal.) Our Rated PG Roller Girls hosted the Red Deer Belladonnas in a battle royal at the Prince George Roll-A-Dome. Though our girls did not come out victorious over the opposition, the night was not a loss. At all. The two teams played their hearts out, bashing each other left, right and (dead) centre. The Belladonnas brought their A-game and took home the well-deserved win. PG’s belles of the track were gracious (well, as gracious as you can be when you hip check someone out of bounds, of course) and encouraged frenzied cheering for the success of their opposition.
Roller derby has struck me in almost exactly the same way that burlesque struck me (this time) last year. The crowd was there, buzzingly excited to cheer on their favourite girls. The ladies were there, decked out in hot-pants and fishnets. Size doesn’t matter at derby. Shape doesn’t matter. And the after-party was hosted by GALA North. It’s all about acceptance . . . and really chic violence. Come out, have a great time, and leave bullshit social constraints at the door. I can dig that.
Roller derby. An amazing time! The Rated PG Roller Girls. Amazing women! I am thrilled to have been able to attend Saturday’s bout and will be there on April 9th! See you folks there!