Last night my friend Alison and I went to the Forest City Roller Derby to watch the Thames Fatales take on the Nickel City Knockouts from Buffalo. I’ve never been to a roller derby, but a strange fascination began when I saw the film, “Whip It”. Now the fact that I actually liked a Drew Barrymore film enough to check out the event that inspired it is impressive. (Sidebar: I loathe Drew Barrymore)
I heard about the roller derby last fall and almost had my dad and uncle convinced to go. And then we found out that it fell on the same day as a UWO football game. Goddammit. So we had to go and sit in the rain and watch football. I now know that this was the wrong decision. And I firmly believe that my dad would have had a much better time at the derby.
At first glance the the roller derby can be semi violent…to the uniformed. What I’ve learned that it’s more aggression, than violence. And speed (which seemed that most of the injuries happened from the combo of speed, excitement and collisions). Lots of speed. However throughout the night it was clear that the derby “girls” from London and Buffalo acted like good friends who were about to hip check each other over and over again. It was nice.
Couple that with the fact that the evening could be described as a family event. There were TONS of kids there. TONS. When I saw that kids under 10 were free, I thought…maybe I wouldn’t take my 9 year old here…but afterwards I totally would. The derby players were friendly, spoke with everyone in the stands, took photos with everyone who asked and joked around with the crowd. The huge crowd (my mathematical eye would say there were well over 500 people there). At intermission the players threw down dozens of hula hoops and a wave of kids ran on and starting hula hooping for 20 minutes. Hilarious!
It was an awesome crowd as well. Lots of folks were very polite and were clearly getting into the game (I’m sure that the next time I as well get into more…it is slightly confusing the first time). I saw lots of tattoos, horned rimmed glasses and womyn taking charge and having an awesome time.
The roller derby season is pretty long, they began in April and go until October. However the Thames Fatales won’t be back in London until October 1st (anyone busy? ‘Cause I sure as heck ain’t gonna be at no football game). Fantastical time.
I can definitely get why the roller derby is beginning to become more and more popular. The excitement of the sport, the awesomeness of seeing womyn being celebrated in playing an aggressive sport…but then ending it with good natured hugs, congrats and check ins with their bruised counter parts.
AND it was fantastical to see all different kinds of womyn on the track. They definitely had some skinny minnies (to go super fast), but they also had some gorgeous thicker womyn skating around the track knocking the skinny women down. Made my heart smile.
And their names are effing cool…
The Thames Fatales:
Anya Face, Mirambo, Killson, Back Alley Sally, Dollface Massacre, Annie Takers, Jemecide, None Ya Biz, Slacker Smacker, Sufferjet (my fave), Piepshow, Freez’er Burn, and Bad Pitt (their coach!).
(Sidebar: My derby name would be “Jane Ire”)
The players weren’t the only ones with cool names…the refs were awesome too. Here is my favourite:
Had we watched this prior to going there, Alison, we would have had way fewer confused glances.
And here’s a video that I took of our Thames Fatales killing it.
Final score? Thames Fatales 170, Knockouts 90.