Roller derby BHAM!

Last weekend’s excitement was going to watch a roller derby competition between The Thundering Hellcats and The Raging Whoremones. Having seen the movie Whip It I was keen to see girls on roller skates in real life. And these girls did not disappoint! There were skimpy outfits and skilled rollerskating. There were ferocious beatings and wild screaming from the crowd. This is an exhilarating spectator sport that will have you baying for blood.

The MC introduces the referees. Their jobs are to keep track of the leader and make sure the girls aren’t pulling any illegal moves. The refs check the girls’ wrist guards – I’m assuming they were checking that there weren’t any tools of pain hidden in there, ’cause these girls are rough – and the teams have a pre-match huddle.

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I’m not 100% clear on all the rules, but this is how a roller derby competition goes. There are three girls from each team at the front of the starting line. These are the blockers. One jammer from each team lines up behind the blockers. Their job is to get through the crush and race around the ring ahead of their opponent to score points. This happens when the jammers get through the crush for the second and more times. They score one point for every opposition member they pass. However, roller derby is a contact sport and the blockers are doing their best to knock the jammer down. No punching or tripping is allowed, but full body knocks are a go. Like I said, these girls are hardcore!

And the bout gets underway!

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Very soon, things get intense… There were some heavy full body knocks – I saw one jammer knocked so hard that she spun on her skates and landed flat on her back (the paramedics came running after that). But, she got up and kept skating. Did I say these girls are hardcore?

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Both teams were awesome and were neck-and-neck during the second half. Eventually The Thundering Hellcats – known as Starship Troopers during the Star Wars-themed match – won by three points. The crowd went wild! And after that, the teams skated past each other to loud applause, and then all hugged. It is a girl’s sport after all.

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4 responses to “Roller derby BHAM!

  1. I appreciate any interest in roller derby. How’s it go? All press is good press? So thanks for the interest in such a misunderstood sport. However, I must point out that the refs check our wrist guards (and all other padding and safety gear) in order to ensure proper fit, according to WFTDA guidelines. No Rollergirl would ever intentionally put anything into a wrist guard to injure another skater,unless she were a rare, mentally ill bird. Yes, its a contact sport, but we aren’t psychopaths. What your ticket to the bout likely didn’t allow you to see is the after party where skaters from both teams and refs and NSOs and others drank and acted like (friendly) fools all in the same place…together. This isn’t the first those girls have faced off, I’m sure. Perhaps, they were even from the same league depending on whether this was an official WFTDA sanctioned bout that will progress the teams from two separate leagues toward their eventual National Ranking or whether it was just a Saturday night intra-league revenue raiser meant to fund those other sanctioned bouts I just mentioned. In other words, the majority of Saturday night derby bouts are two teams from the same league raising money to fund their Star team, since derby is a 100% DIY sport. They play both kinds of games with the same intensity and desire to win and to hurt an opponent from their very own league (aka family) would just be insane. ❤

      • No, not a correction at all. You even said in your post that you were guessing that’s why they’d check the pads. And maybe even were curious why that was? Maybe not. Either way, I just thought I’d offer some insight as to why that is and why we wouldn’t be interested in harming one another. That’s all.

  2. Oh, and actually now that I have read the rest of the post and, more helpfully, seen the rest of the pictures, this totally was two teams from one league facing each other. So, these girls are literally friends with one another. They practice together and babysit each others’ kids. They are a derby family.

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