You know, the good kind of sexism
Roller derby is patently sexist—in a good way.
The lack of a men's league (and my general unfamiliarity with the sport) didn't diminish my enjoyment of the season kickoff to the Sacred City Derby Girls’ 2013 season at Memorial Auditorium earlier this month.
Armed with a B-movie-themed program and $7 beer, I settled into my seat with a fellow reporter and a few new acquaintances, all first-timers to the brash, bruising roller-derby scene. Even if you've never seen a match, you're probably somewhat familiar with the culture—heavily influenced by the kitschy sexploitation flicks of the '60s and '70s, roller-derby queens primp like Russ Meyer sex kittens but act like hungry panthers on the prowl.
The match featured three packs scrapping for alpha-cat status—home girls Midtown Maulies and The Donna Party, and last year's champs the Roseville TrainWreckers.
The auditorium floor was transformed into a brightly lit rink where packs of roving “chicks” (their term) set out to execute swift, sweeping curves and elbow each other for position. The five-person squads are made up of three sturdy-looking blockers, a pivot and a small, swift jammer, who scores a point each time she passes an opposing team member. Two teams compete at a time over a 30-minute period divided into two-minute jams.
While all this may sound relatively simple, it can get pretty inscrutable to the uninitiated, especially as skaters start knocking, jostling and tripping over one another. Our group struggled to match up what we witnessed on the track to the streaking tallies on the scoreboard. Maybe it would be simpler just to count up the number of bruises after each game and afford the victory to the team with the fewest. Crying would equal an automatic forfeit.
All we knew for certain was that the TrainWreckers reasserted their dominance, cruising to big wins over The Donna Party and Midtown Maulies in the first two periods. In roller derby, at least, the suburbs rule.
Our group established its own scoring system.
We awarded five points to the lead referee, a pretty blonde with an unidentifiable stuffed mammal on her helmet. Every time the action slowed or got too confusing to follow, we went back to guessing what the hell it was—marmot, otter, mutant ferret?
We subtracted five points from the referee who replaced a small crown on his helmet with a larger one for no clear reason. Apparently, he can't believe it's not butter.
Ten points went to the chunky dude who killed it during the halftime air-guitar contest and ended up winning a real Fender Stratocaster. At least now he has something to hock for beer money.
Minus five points to the Maulies' spastic mascot Fancy Feast, dressed like a cross between a ninja and a stripper in a ski mask and fur-lined coat.
Minus 10 points to whoever in the Maulies organization decided cheetah-print underwear was a good uniform choice.
And, finally, a thousand points to the roller-derby chick with the best name: The Donna Party's Skirt Vonna-Gut. Even better? Her jersey number is Ice-9. Now that's a Cat's Cradle I'd like to rob.