Sunday, June 12, 2005


Usually my Sunday blogs are from the New York Times. Today the first two entries on Sunday are from the Sun-Times. The Sun-Times ran a story about the Windy City Rollers. The Rollers are a group of four roller derby squads that put on "bouts" at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. Fine. Good. Interesting. However, the motivation for the group, and the names they pick rock.

The Sun-Times article quotes one of the founders thus "'We've broken the limits,' said Gomez, 31. 'I'm a mother of two girls. When I had my daughters, I was worried about what it would be like for them to grow up as women, trying to balance the idea they may not get opportunities and be taken as seriously. This generation of women has completely disproven my thoughts.

'Now it is not a matter of whether opportunity is going to be a problem. It is how you get through that opportunity. How are you going to pass the boundaries, break all the rules and make your own way?'

That is the metaphor of women's roller derby."

WHAT? What the hell does wrestling on skates have to do with women getting opportunities. L always reminds me of the horrors the Suffragists went through to get the vote. I wonder if they would see their work in a Roller Derby bout. I am not guessing they would. Clowns.

Anyway, the women have roller derby names like Tequila Mockingbird, Juana Rumbel, Sister Sledgehammer, Varla Vendetta, The Crimson Crusher, Ana Mission, Val Capone, Athena Dacrime, J'Illegal, Anita Beer, Shirley Temple of Doom, and my favorite Broken Cherry. I did not make that last one up. Nothing says opportunity like naming yourself Broken Cherry.

They also have a backstory for each team. The Fury are "silent stalkers" who will "come and getcha when you're not looking." The Double Crossers are "female assassins. Every one of us has a weapon specialty." Didn't Uma Thurman play one of these characters in Pulp Fiction? The Hell's Belles are "'reform school' types who rebelled against reform school" while "the Manic Attackers do more than just rebel. They 'escaped' from asylums and are the craziest of the four squads."

I may have to go see a bout. Goofs.


Anonymous Varla Vendetta, #25 Hell's Belles said...

Hi David....i know just as little about you as you know about Chicago Roller Derby. But i figured, i'd be so kind as to educate you just a little bit, me being one of those "goofs." Windy City Rollers' Roller Derby is all about opportunity and growth for the sixty some of us who've devoted over a year of our life to it. It is much more than wrestling on skates. It's sixty strangers managing to pull together some incredible skaters, trainers, designers, photographers, business women, lawyers and social workers to form a phenomenon that pulls in an excess of 1800 people once a month to see just how serious we all are about the opportunity we've been given. It's skating four hours a week until our thighs burn and then taking hits and skating some more. It's running and squating a few additional hours in that same week, to work through that pain. It's doing all our own advertising, merchandising, community activism, recruiting, training and production. It's pulling together such an athletic and entertaining show that, despite very few people knowing what derby is about, we pack the historic Congress THEATER with 2000 people by the end of your season and have them loving the game and on their feet chanting our name for two hours straight. It's sixty women doing all of this for nothing more than the love of the sport we've resurrected and being able to say we did this ourselves, without the backing of a major corporate sponsorship, nor trust funds nor connections, just good people. It's being proud to say that in less than a year we were able to raise more than $16,000 for local charities and volunteer in our community. It's being talented and smart enough to recognize that we've achieved more in one year than most rock bands, actors, atheltes and small businesses hope to achieve in five years or their whole careers. It's being acute enough to recognize that in a world where men's versions of most sports far surpass the marketability and financial investments of women's sports, we've promoted a sport that will always have a higher draw as a female sport. It's realizing how to balance femininity with toughness and power and style. It's knowing what we've created in the Windy City Rollers is solid and has afforded each one of us professional, personal, corporeal and social benefits and opportunities.
And yeah, you SHOULD go check out us "clowns" in action before you try to post more comments questioning the merit of roller derby as it pertains to opportunities and women or suffrage.
And yes, our names and motivations most definitely ROCK. We'd be happy to show you how much at any time. See you at the derby, David.
Your friendly neighborhood Derby Dame, Varla Vendetta, #25, CoCaptain of the Hell's Belles, Windy City Rollers all girl, flat track, slap you in your face, Roller Derby

12:04 AM  

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