May 022012

By Sunny Montgomery

When I first began covering the Rollergirls of Central Kentucky (ROCK) for NoC, I’d been bewildered by everything:  the skaters whizzing past, pushing and falling, the referees gesturing wildly and the announcers hollering things I could not understand.  But by the end of the season, I was an enthusiast.  I was so overcome with female empowerment that I cut off all my hair and got a girlfriend.

So I was thrilled on April 7 when ROCK returned to the Lexington Center for their first home bout of the new season to face off against the formidable Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls (BBRG) from Northern Kentucky.

Rainbow Smite attempts to punch through Black-n-Bluegrass wall. Photo by Jack King.

Continue reading »

Apr 042012

Bike polo tourney, April 27-29

By Sunny Montgomery

It was a warm and particularly windy afternoon when I attended my first bike polo practice, arriving at Coolavin Park as the pickup games were already underway.  A dozen or so players and two large dogs hurried back and forth across the old tennis courts.  The dogs, unfortunately, did not play polo.  Instead, they barked raucously at the young children who’d wandered over from the playground, in part to tease the dogs but also to watch the players circling the court on their bicycles, chasing a small ball with their homemade mallets.  Occasionally, a player would cruise past where I sat taking notes and whack their mallet up against the chain link fence.

Within just a few minutes, I witnessed my first collision.  The player toppled sideways off his seat then struggled to climb back on while still holding onto his groin.  Continue reading »

Dec 072011

By Danny Mayer

Last week, city leaders unveiled a fresh round of updates regarding plans for the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District, known politically as the Rupp Opportunity Zone. Leaders envision a public/private/public urban development project that will link the city, UK and the downtown private business community. The centerpiece of the Opportunity Zone is Rupp Arena, home of UK basketball, whose renovation costs the city hopes to leverage to spur further development of the 47 city-owned convention center acres that it sits upon. Continue reading »

Dec 072011

NoC Sports

In light rain and ultra-soggy conditions, Danny Mayer rode a perfect botch on the opening jack to an 11-6 victory in the night’s opening round of Lexington Guerilla Bocce League, held Monday nights at 10:00 PM. The Courthouse grounds were spongy, Mayer told reporters after the match while receiving liquids in the player’s quarters at Sidebar, and air temperature remained at a balmy 50 degrees. “I stuck my throws, and Michael was over-geared for the night,” Mayer explained about his well-dressed competitor. “His extra layers were either a hindrance to his current performance—leading to a number of poorly rolled balls—or they were a learning experience for learning how to throw in cold-weather. Either way, I beat the shit out of him tonight.” Continue reading »

Nov 232011

From State College to Berkeley and back to Lexington

By Jeff Gross

Like many on the morning of November 10, I woke up to the swell of news about what had happened overnight at two major public universities. In State College, P.A., an estimated 2,000 students took to the streets after the Penn State University Board of Trustees announced the dismissal of university president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno for their alleged roles in covering up the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Angry that media attention had pressured the school to end Paterno’s reign, students hurled rocks at television reporters and overturned a news van. By the time the streets were cleared, the police had made no arrests.

Across the country, at the University of California-Berkeley, students gathered in front of Sproul Hall (site of famous 1960s protests) to Occupy Cal and draw attention to the increasing cost of tuition and the long-term impact of student loan debt. In defiance of university administrators’ orders not to set up an encampment, a group of nearly 1,000, made up of students and faculty members, attempted to set up tents to occupy their campus. Refusing police orders to disperse, protestors knowingly committed an act of civil disobedience when they linked arms to protect the individuals setting up the encampment. Continue reading »

Nov 232011

Benton sweeps first night of league play

NoC Sports

Under the distant gaze of two fans drinking at Sidebar, Michael Benton rolled his way to a pair of victories on the soggy grounds of Courthouse Fields for opening night of the Lexington Guerilla Bocce League (LGBL). In the night’s first match, Benton and League non-commissioner Danny Mayer rolled a closely fought match. The two players traded leads until Mayer surged ahead 10-8 with a late-match perfect botch. At the ensuing rolling of the jack, Benton responded with a perfect botch of his own to pull off an improbable, thrilling, come-from-behind 11-10 victory. Continue reading »

Nov 092011

Monday nights, 10:00 P.M.

By Northrupp Center

“It is said that all games of bocce begin and end with a handshake.”

—Maxim printed on the rules to a bocce set purchased in 2001.

Guerrilla bocce is an anarchist variant of the popular Italian lawn game that dates back to ancient Roman times. The game is simple. Players take turns throwing two balls at a smaller ball, known as the Jack or the Pallino. Points are earned based upon proximity to the Jack: 2 points are awarded to the player whose ball is closest; 1 point is awarded to the second closest ball. Games continue until the winning player reaches 11 points.

Aesthetically, Guerrilla bocce is closer to Free Range bocce than to the more staid and traditional Courted bocce, which is played by teams of two on courts of crushed oyster shells that run to ninety feet long. In Guerrilla bocce, players walk their environments, rolling their balls on a variety of public, quasi-public and some just downright no-trespassing green spaces. Hooting and hollering is often involved, though it holds no official place in Guerrilla bocce rules. Continue reading »

Oct 262011

Win final bout 143-92

By Suns McGunns

On Saturday, October 1, I attended the Rollergirls of Central Kentucky’s(ROCK) final bout of the season against the Vigilante Pistols Whips (VPW) at Heritage Hall in Lexington.

Donning plain white tees, the Pistols Whips were a unique team because, actually, they did not exist.  Rather, VPW was made up of various skaters from various leagues, including three skaters from ROCK.  As seasons end and tournaments begin, I learned that these types of pickup games are not unusual.

Pickup game or not, roller derby fans were out in full force.  The stadium and suicide seating were filled.  Fans lined the walls.  I took a seat on the bottom row of the bleachers.  To my right were a couple of young boys, gobbling popcorn and singing along while Adele played over the loudspeaker.  To my left was an older good-natured heckler, joined by his daughter who lovingly referred to him as ‘weasel.’  Continue reading »

Oct 122011

By Danny Mayer

If you want to know how the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District Task Force will shake out, look no further than a Friday, April 1, 20011, Lexington Herald-Leader editorial entitled, “Not just another pretty venue.” The editorial lays out all the basic talking points used by virtually every leader and writer covering the topic. It begins with three paragraphs duly noting that, yes, Rupp is already a world-class facility that is the envy of the basketball world, and that, yes, neither the replacement nor the renovation of it should rank high on “Kentucky’s, Lexington’s or the University of Kentucky’s [list of] most pressing needs.”

After making the brief case for why it is utterly useless and irresponsible to do anything at all to Rupp, the editorial spends the final 15 paragraphs rolling out the city and university’s sales pitch to the public, their plan for doing what they’ve just told you they shouldn’t do. Their idea is that a shitty project for the city, state and university can be securitized into one giant super-shitty project that will magically turn profitable for all interested parties. Continue reading »

Sep 282011

But ROCK falls to Hard Knox

By Sunny Montgomery

Over Labor Day weekend, I attended the Rollergirls of Central Kentucky’s (ROCK) second to last bout of the season where they faced off against Knoxville’s Hard Knox Rollergirls (HKRG.)  I arrived early, ordered a beer and wandered through the arena.  I stopped and chatted with Jack King, devout follower and official photographer of ROCK.  “I’m trying to find the perfect seat,” I told him.  Jack raised his eyebrows.   “Well that’s suicide seating, of course,” he said. Continue reading »