Really no sooner had I decided I needed to see a roller derby match, and put it on my 30 Before 30 List, than Indy Week announced on Twitter:
I’ve got five pair of tickets to give away to tomorrows Carolina Roller Girls Bout at Dorton Arena! Who wants a pair? Independent Weekly
I jumped on it, and Robbie and I ended up with a free pair of tickets to a Carolina Roller Girls double header on Saturday night. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was excited!
Stuff I didn’t remember: the gate entrances to the fairgrounds aren’t that prominently marked, so you kinda gotta know where you’re going; Dorton Arena is not air conditioned. Luckily, we dressed appropriately and there were big huge fans and cold beer, so everything turned out fine.
Stuff I didn’t expect but was really tickled about: the amount of interesting stockings/tights with stripes, fishnets, and other cool patterns, on the roller girls and the fans; the family-friendliness of it (I had the impression that there was too much badassery for small children); the fact that you could bring a chair or cop a sit right on the arena floor with the possibility of getting a “skate to the face” included in your ticket price.
So, the uber-simplified rules of roller derby, as near as I can figure: There are 2 “jammers,” one from each team. The jammers start behind the pack of skaters and try to make their way up to the front of the pack. The jammer that pulls ahead into the lead gets points for every opposing team member she manages to pass (with a few caveats, like her skates have to be in-bounds and she doesn’t get as many points if some of the opposing team members are in the penalty box, etc.). Each round is 2 minutes or until the lead jammer calls it off, whichever comes first, and the whole game is an hour long with really minimal time-outing.
It’s pretty fast-paced and exciting and there is a lot of bumping and falling. Also, they wear tiny shorts and little bitty jerseys, so the men in your family should appreciate it, beyond the violent nature of the sport itself. Really, I’m a girl and I still thought it was pretty awesome. Girls on roller skates, shoving, falling, hardly any time when something is not actually happening… What’s not to like?
I had an awesome time, and I recommend it as a fun outing if you have a league around you.
Uh, Robbie was kind of bored though, so I may need a volunteer to go to the next one with me. Ladies night out, anyone? I’ll buy the first round of beer and we can heckle the mascot. Deal?