Houston's Roller Grrls Headed To National Championship

The bad-ass chicks of Houston Roller Derby are competing in the national championships in Philly Nov. 13-15, so make sure you check 'em out at www.derbynewsnetwork.com. It's the first time the Houston Roller Derby league's travel team, HaRD Knocks, will compete in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's nationals.

For those of you unfamiliar with the workings of the sport, league spokeswoman Tiffany Hamilton says winning the nationals is like winning the World Series. Carmen Geddit, Tex Offender, Nawty Dread Knocks and 14 other "dream team" players selected from Houston's three home teams will take on Denver's Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, and, if victorious, will face the Philly Roller Girls.

League newbie Hamilton, aka Grrrl Friday, says Houston's rollergirls are some of the toughest in the WFTDA.

"I just attended my first-ever practice with them on Saturday, and I was just like a broken person after it was over -- they train hard," she tells Hair Balls. (Hamilton is still part of the rec league, where all the members start). The athletes do dozens of sets of punishing exercises, drawing from a deck of cards to determine the number of reps for each set.

"It'll knock you on your ass," says Hamilton, who covers oil & gas markets for a business wire service when she's not in her skates. "...They really take it seriously, and they train very hard. And all the girls that are on the travel team, you know, they're just amazing athletes."

And they need to be, as this sport's serious business: check out the site's Injury Ward photos for gruesome pics of broken bones, black eyes, and some of the nastiest bruises you'll find outside of a Turkish prison.

But fear of injury hasn't affected membership -- thanks to Drew Barrymore's roller derby saga Whip It, new-skater class sizes are swelling like one of those freakish bruises.

The players will be flying to Philly -- quite a luxury, given WFTDA teams' limited budgets. The teams really have to find ways to stretch sponsorship dollars, Hamilton says. We were just glad to hear the HaRD Knocks players won't have to cram inside a sketchy van for the journey.

"I think those days are not too far in the past, though," Hamilton says. "...There's a lot of teams in the WFTDA who, you know, have to rent a bus or what have you and just find any way they can to get to these competitions."

And all you have to do to enjoy the whole thing is sit on your couch and watch it online. No excuses!

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