There was a time when I spent frequent weekend afternoons watching roller derby and Laredo reruns and I still tend to associate Neville Brand and the Bay City Bombers. But live in-person roller derby was denied me until last night. The Cincinnati Rollersgirls belong to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association with their home bouts (Yep, they're called bouts.) at Cincinnati Gardens. It's an amateur league and flat track isn't quite as fast as the banked tracks of the pros but it's still pretty fast. And it's definitely real roller derby. The skaters have names like Kitten Kicker, June with a Cleaver, Nuk'em, & Iona Pair. The coaches are Pale Rider & Quad Almighty. There's a varsity and a junior varsity team. Last night the varsity Black Sheep played the Nashville All Stars with the junior varsity Silent Lambs playing the Nashville Brawl Stars. The Lambs, by the way, are introduced as the "Silent but violent Lambs". Yeah, this is real roller derby.
I was armed with only my go anywhere Panasonic and things move fast with not a whole lot of light. The pictures I've posted are pretty crappy but you should be aware that I do have worse. The first row is the junior varsity bout which Cincinnati won 80-63. The Black Sheep won their bout 176-65. Players called jammers, who start at the rear, score points by passing everybody else while everybody else, who isn't on their team, tries to block them. Sure, there's a lot more to it than that but I'm living proof that you don't need to know very much to enjoy watching. Bouts are divided into two minute segments called jams. The first picture of the last row shows a jam about to start with the jammers, one from each team, on the right and the blockers to the left. That picture is actually the opening frame of a video of the full jam I've posted here.
Doors open an hour before the first bout. During this "happy hour", beer (sort of, it's Hudy Delight) can be had for a buck. This supplies material and maybe motivation for construction projects like this. A good time was had by all with the possible exception of the All & Brawl Stars.
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