The Derby, on Wheels

White Team warming up

Black Team warming up

On the first Saturday of May, while the rest of the country was tuned in to the Kentucky Derby, I was at the Overlook Golf Course Activities Room watching the Dutchland Rollers tackle the Mother Earth All-Stars in Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby.

Dutchland Mascot or CheerleaderWhat a spectacle.  First of all, the cheerleader for the Dutchland Rollers is dressed as an old Amish woman.  Needless to say, it is one of the few sports where the players are prettier than the cheerleaders.

I hadn’t been to a Roller Derby match since the days when Charlie O’Connell and his San Francisco Bay Bombers skated into New York to face and usually destroy the New York Chiefs.

Back in those days, the games were usually close, but you knew the Bombers would win it in the end.  Even if they were trailing by quite a few points with only enough time left for one more jam.  Dynamite Mike Gammon would put on the jammers helmet and Charlie O’Connell would just keep knocking skaters down until Mike lapped enough opponents to get the victory.

This game wasn’t even close.  Dynamite Mike wouldn’t have been able to win this one with his patented finish.  Even The Flash wouldn’t have been able to help the Dutchland Rollers who lost 248-73.

Shakespeare said that a rose by any name would still smell as sweet.  I now have a corollary to that.  A Roller Derby skater’s talents don’t improve with a tough name.  The Dutchland Rollers had skaters named Acute Toxicity, Ghengis Bon, Salt N Decker, and Mell Raiser.  They got clobbered by skaters using their real names, like Nikki Towner, Rachel Garris, Theresa Grosse, and Rachel Thomas.  I also noticed that you couldn’t guess how tough the skaters were by the number of tattoos a girl had.  While most of the girls had tattoos, some of the best skaters didn’t have any, or at least none that were in plain view.

When she noticed the “new guy” watching from rinkside, one of the Dutchland Roller’s grandmothers came over to say Hi.  We talked until the first game was over.  Then the fans all walked to the edge of the track and the skaters from both teams skated around the track high fiving everyone.

The second game consisted of local players who probably were aspiring to make it to the first string teams.  They called it Mayhem Madness.  Here, everyone had a tough nickname.  On the “Call me MAYbe” team, there were names like Russian Bayou, Bacon 4 Mercy, Slim Skatey, and Mya Psychosis.  The “Its Gonna Be MAY” team had ZipBlok, Rot-N-2 the Cor E, Wild Kat, and Sue E Side Hotline, whose number was 1-800.  I thought that was funny.

While they were warming up, I spotted #29, Vanitti.  She was very cute and petite, and I hoped her grandmother was in attendance.  I figured that Vanitti would be a jammer, one of the fast ones who try to earn points for their team by lapping opponents on the track.  She was, and she was a good one too, but, quite often, when she wasn’t jamming she was also a blocker, and she had to block quite a few corn-fed bruisers.  She did very well there, too.  She didn’t back down from anybody and she probably spent more time in the “Dutch Oven” penalty box than anyone else.  She led her team to a 300-56 victory.  I cheered loudly for both teams, hoping that their grandmothers were watching.  At the end of the game, the fans again circled the track and both teams skated around high fiving everyone.

Final Score 300-56Obviously, there is no “mercy rule” in this league, but there weren’t any fights either.  They played hard and fair all the way to the end, but you could see that they were all friends.  On one of the plays a skater got hit hard and went down on the track.  Both teams held their breath as the trainer attended to the player.  The biggest cheer of the night was when she got back up on her skates.  All in all, it was a fun night with a fun crowd.  The only bad news is that their next home game isn’t until September 10th.  So, it’s back to the baseball park until September.  Go Stormers.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

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