Popping My Roller Derby Cherry

I attended my first roller derby match last night. I was impressed.

Daniel Kramer

My friend Craig describes roller derby as a cross between NASCAR, hockey and

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

. I think that that’s an accurate assessment, but you should also throw in a little bit of professional wrestling.

The important info: As a result of the August Assault, the defending Houston Roller Derby champion Psych Ward Sirens will be battling the undefeated Bayou City Bosses for the season championship come Sunday, October 21. And next month, come Sunday, September 16, the Houston Roller Derby all-star team will be taking on all-star teams from Dallas, San Antonio and Austin in the Governor’s Cup competition to decide the best team in the state.

As for my impressions of roller derby: Let’s just say it was a blur of activity. Women on skates bumping and grinding and throwing fists. Lots of loud music and four announcers – including two on the floor – constantly talking and analyzing and insulting.

I’m not going to begin to explain the rules, primarily because I don’t understand the rules. There are two halves, and each half is 30 minutes long. The clock stops only for timeouts, and, like with hockey, the teams play in shifts, constantly substituting skaters.

The ladies are graceful, especially when they break away from the pack, but they can be more brutal than a linebacker zeroing in on a quarterback’s blindside.

If you still can’t quite picture roller derby, I’d suggest you rent the James Caan classic, Rollerball. Now, imagine that on a flat track, without the football gear and the motorcycles. But the participants are just as bloodthirsty and wearing a lot less padding.

It’s quite the hypnotic and captivating experience, and I personally look forward to attending more of the competitions.

And next time, I hope to actually learn the rules. – John Royal

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