25
Feb
09

Derby Demons rock

After wanting to hit a roller derby for ages, I finally got to see one last week. Normally I work Saturdays, which is the day that they skate — but somehow, the stars aligned and they were actually competing on a day I had off, so I just had to go.

I posted an event on meetin.org, to see if any of my fellow MEEPS (meetin peeps) wanted to go. I had about 10 RSVPs, which seemed about the right size group for that venue.

So, we went.

Now, first off, while waiting for my gaggle to show up, I ran into a college friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since we graduated. That was pretty cool. We chatted, mostly everyone who RSVP’d showed up, and we were ready to rock.

The MEEPs.

Some of the MEEPs.

We sat down in the wrong section (I just looked for seating that could accommodate the group) — we were SCDD fans sitting in the Ohio section! Oh noes! Well, to be fair, most of the Ohio fans were on the floor, and we had no idea of what the rules were and how the game was played, so it was hard to feel tension with the other fans there. Besides, most of the crowd was pretty darned friendly — they were all there to have fun and watch these women compete — and while there is a cheesy  element to it, make no mistake, these women are here to compete.

Gotta have some fun, right?

Gotta have some fun, right?

One of the first things that struck me about the event was the “fun” element involved. These women came up with some great names for themselves — and by great names, I mean laugh out loud, “Oh my God, that’s great!” kind of fun. I think my favorite names were “The Shocker” (her number was “2:1” — just classic), “Cheeseburger” (# 1/4 lb., with a cheeseburger helmet to match), and good ole McShovin (NH4NO3, which is ammonium nitrate, which can be used in improvised explosives).

Now, the stereotype that I had of roller derby involved a lot of 6-foot-tall Amazonian women crushing skulls, sending opponents into the boards or throwing elbows into noses. It’s not. The women were often (physically) your average woman off the street: large, tall, short, small — there was no single defining thing about them. And while there is some hitting/bumping/shouldering involved, the game more revolves around the jammer not contacting anyone in order to score (because if she draws a penalty by hitting someone, she can’t score). So, a lot of the times, you would see a nimble jammer sliding through the pack, ducking and weaving as she went, while the blockers tried to keep anyone from touching her.

Do you want Betty smacking you?

Do you want Betty smacking you?

But make no mistake, this is a game in which the players can get hurt. In the first bout, the B-Team’s captain, Busty Brawler (her number is “36DD”), face-planted. The game immediately stopped, emergency personnel ran to her. I fully expected her to come up with a least a bloody nose — but luckily, she was fine. Another time, a wheel shot off of a players skate and went into the crowd. Yeah, there’s definitely hazards involved!

So, the game consisted of 2 different teams on both sides playing. The first match featured the SCDD’s “B-Unit.” It consisted of 2 20 minute “bouts” (I hope I have the time and terminology correct), with a break in the middle. The second contest featured SCDD’s “Steel Hurtin'” vs the Ohio All-Stars, which was 2 30 minute bouts, with a 30 minute break. So yeah, for the $10 ticket, you’re spending a lot of time there.

The Shocker lines up

"The Shocker" lines up

Now, during the B-Unit match is where we learned the ins and outs of the game. Luckily, the basic rules are in the program — and a couple of the meetin’ folks were thinking out loud during the game and almost answering the questions that were floating around in my brain. The announcers also talked on a “noob” level to help those in the stands get a feel for the game, so it didn’t take long to figure out everything. And once you did get it, the game really opens up. We were fortunate that the B-Unit game was pretty tight — there were several lead changes, and the game came down to the B-Unit calling a time out with 6 seconds on the clock. The Shocker was put in, and she did the rest. (hahahahahahaha~) But seriously, she flew through the pack — and pretty much won the match for them — by a point.

The second bout was much faster — these ladies were pretty much the best that their respective teams could field. I was really impressed by SCDD’s “Snot Rocket Science” — she was an amazing jammer who just flew around the track. Athena, the Steel Hurtin’ captain, threw out some killer blocks that made the crowd wince and say “Ooooooww!” Steel Hurtin’ pretty much crushed the Ohio All-Stars, so the game was a little harder to get into. But it was still a lot of fun.

Some other observations:

  • I was kinda surprised by the amount of women in attendence. To be honest, I expected more slimeball-ish men there to oogle the players (because a lot of them are pretty hot) — but it wasn’t the case. Lots of women, and lots of families. Definitely did not expect that.
  • Steelman. Next time, Ill turn the flash on.

    Steelman. Next time, I'll turn the flash on.

    They did have a mascot. I don’t know if it was an official SCDD mascot, or if he was there to cheer on the Steel Hurtin’, but Steelman was in attendence. While he didn’t have the most creative name or have any kind of special gimmick other than his outfit,  I still have to give him credit — he could kick Steely McBeam’s ass any day.

  • The sense of humor there didn’t end with the players coming up with creative names. During one intermission, there was a pie eating contest, and during it, they played “Stay Hungry” (by Twisted Sister) and then “Eat it” (by Wierd Al Yankovic). My god, it was my teen years come to life.
  • Despite all the tattoos and muttonchops aplenty in the stands and working the event, this was probably the friendliest crowd I’ve ever seen.
  • Cheeseburger’s helmet rocks. Wish I could have gotten a better pic of it.
  • The next time I go, I will get floor seats, or will sit in the bleachers with my back against the wall. And I’ll bring one of those stadium cushions, cause those bleachers get damn uncomfortable after awhile.

Overall, this is a great time. I really recommend you check it out sometime. We had a blast, and I will definitely be back. In fact, I think I’m gonna throw up a link to their site — they deserve it.

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3 Responses to “Derby Demons rock”


  1. February 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Oh Steelman isn’t their mascot, he’s Pittsburgh’s unofficial mascot. He’s, basically, just some dude who dresses up like that and supports anything kinda cool about Pittsburgh.

    Ok you may have talked me into going, but I dunno about spending all that time watching this stuff the first time out – let me know when you go again…

  2. 2 Sly Reference
    February 25, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    “Cheeseburger’s helmet rocks. Wish I could have gotten a better pic of it.”

    http://www.steelcityderbydemons.com/photos/2008/apr/pages/Edit-08197.htm

  3. 3 Three
    February 25, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    @Hammer: Yeah, it is a looong event. Around 4 hours all together (we went in around 6 to get seats, it started at 6:30, we didn’t get out until after 10), and 1.5 hours of it is breaks. If I were to have any complaints about it, that would be it. And thanks for the 411 on Steelman.

    @Sly: Thanks for the link. Cheeseburger was always in motion — it was hard to get a pic of her helmet that wasn’t all wobbly and blurred.

    And I don’t know why that pic of Ally McKill got deleted. Silly photobucket.


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