Last weekend I had my first experience of the 80’s revival phenomenon known as Roller Derby. Word is it’s coming back in a big way, not just in the USA but Canada, and even Australia (and maybe other places, but I’m not in touch with them). If you don’t know what it is, imagine two packs of punk girls in fishnets and roller skates getting all aggressive and body checking the heck out of each other as they skate around a ring. Or just watch the movie Whip It. In short though, it’s pretty fun.
Late one fine saturday afternoon, armed with a large amount of Canada Dry and Rye Whiskey, me and my mate Ross headed to the Rec center to catch the double feature of the Total Knock Outs vs the Lunch Ladies, and The Venus Fly Tramps Vs. Thames Fatales. This was a Kitchener-Waterloo vs London affair, so our hometown pride was at stake. On our way in we forgot to pick up an information pamphlet which apparently explain the rules, instead we just had what I could remember form seeing Whip It (mostly I just remember Ellen Page is cute), and the combined intellect of two theoretical physics PhD students to work it out. We failed.
Several whiskeys in we had decided the girls in the lead who wore stars on their helmets were called Star Girls, and it was their job to get star power and lap everyone while we sung the Mario Kart star power song for them (If you want the real rules and not my made up bullshit about you should watch this video. I still prefer Star Girls to Jammers though). London’s Lunch Ladies took off to a huge early lead over KW’s TKO. This was largely due to their super star girl Box Kick Betty who flew around the track looking like a Pippy Longstockings dipped in bright yellow paint. Betty was by far our favourite star girl for the evening (she’s the one in yellow in the photo at the top of this post). There was much crashing and falling and in all it was quite exciting, and eventually TKO managed to pull back form being one fifth of LL’s score to less than half. A sort of victory I guess.
In the intermission we ducked out of the venue to ride back to my house and restock on whisky and gin. We also picked up two more friends for the second game. One of our friends had actually just started playing Roller Derby and she attempted to explain the rules, but by this point we were reasonably intoxicated and rather uninterested in the truth. The second game was a much tighter match and the skill level seemed stepped up a notch. The roles were reversed this game though and KW’s Tramps pulled away to a comfortable lead early on and held the upper hand for the whole game. A bit of our home town pride was restored after our first games crushing defeat. Curiously at the start of the second game we were seated in section surrounded by elderly folks and young children, but when we looked around after the game was over we were mostly alone. I guess they didn’t entirely appreciate our enthusiasm.