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.’ 

I took out my notebook as the skaters lined up around the track and Darstrosity, ROCK’s hype man, side-galloped around the arena and screamed out a final thank you to the fans.  The bout was about to begin.

The Pistol Whips played with intense physicality and in the beginning, it paid off.  They shouldered and knocked their way to get first lead jammer.  Then they did it again.  And then ROCK sent Bitty Bast’rd in to jam.

Her name speaks for itself.  Standing just five feet tall, Bitty uses her size to advantage.  With her knees bent and her head down, she was waist-high to the other skaters and seemed to effortlessly glide through the opposing blockers.  Each time Bitty Bast’rd was sent in to jam, she dominated.  So despite VPW’s aggression, ROCK was not rattled.   The team played with keen teamwork.  They kept their packs close and their walls so tight that when VPW’s jammer tried to break through, it often times resulted in a hard crash.  Crashes often times seem to result in girls getting penalties.

The loud mouth beside me jumped out of his seat and hollered wildly at ROCK’s Sugar Shock as she was sent to the box.

“Weasel, that’s our girl.”  His daughter reminded him.

“Yeah yeah, I know,” he said.  “I’m just having fun.”  He nudged me and grinned.  The little boys beside me excitedly mimicked the referees’ gestures.  They pounded their wrists on their hip bones each time the pack skated past–which is what lead jammers do to signal they are calling off a jam.

“That’s what I do whenever my wife gives me chores to do,” Weasel told me, nodding at the young boys and tapping his own wrists to his hips.  “I call the jam off!”  He chuckled.  I chuckled too.  Spirits were high.  ROCK was winning.  Darstrosity rallied the audience to do the wave once more just before the bout ended.

Photo by King-Photography.com

ROCK's season has finished its backsretch. Photo by Jack King.

I remember when I first told my friends I was going to write for the roller derby, they told me that I too should join the team.  I was flattered my friends considered me tough but within ten minutes of my first bout back in June, I knew there was no way.  Sadly, my sarcastic wit alone did not qualify me. The roller derby is not just about attitude.  It is not just about build or brute force.  It is about being strong, graceful and smart all at the same time.  It is about being part of a community and the small moments you share with the stranger sitting next to you when it’s the final bout of the season and your team is winning.  Indeed, ROCK won their final bout 143 to 92.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to write for the Rollergirls of Central Kentucky.  So thank you, new friends, for the experience.

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