Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roller Derby: Pulp Friction

On Saturday July 9th I witnessed an event more awesome than I thought it could be. A sport, funnily enough. I finally understand why people get excited about sport. What I am talking about, of course, is roller derby. Currently, the majority of the leagues are women only, with men taking part as referees or commentators. There are male leagues, but not that many.
The whole thing took place in Homebush at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, and I was surprised at the size of the crowd. I hadn't expected something, that was more or less still an underground event, to have such a turn out.
Rockabilly bands bracketed each bout, starting us off and playing during the breaks. It definitely set the mood for a jumping, jiving time. Clearly, costumes are a huge part of this whole even - and so is a strange, choreographed dancing introductory sequence. Each player has an amusing-come-badass nickname, some of my favourites being Haterade, Feral Streep, Tail-her Swift and Womb Raider.
The first mini bout was the Western Sydney Boutlaws versus the Beauty School Knockouts. From this first game, I could see that the game could be brutal. Elbows shoved into guts, knockdowns, fast roller-skating and everything short of punching and kicking took place on the track. And this bout was slower than a normal bout. This was the Boutlaws' first big bout and the Knockouts were a seasoned team. I didn't know this and backed the Boutlaws because they had the prettiest girls - this was my first roller derby after all, how was I to know?
I should've gone with my instinct during the player show-off period when I saw the Knockouts had far better skaters, but I didn't and the Boutlaws lost 28 to 60-something.
The way I chose sides in the second, main bout - The D'viants versus the Unicorns - wasn't much better - basing it on the quality of the team photograph, the names of the players and the general vibe of the team. The Unicorns were undefeated, the commentators proclaiming so regularly, so naturlly I chose the D'viants. They had the Whip It, underdog kind of feel about the, with a more blaring energy and a less stupid theme. Even though the D'viants lost 128-132, I am so glad I picked that team to back. They played a roaring game with real passion and heart. They totally deserved to win and could have, if the Unicorns hadn't scored a 29 point jam just near the end, causing them to soar forward and win.
I don't care, the D'viants rock and I'll be going back on August 6 to show them my support when they go against the Boutlaws in the mini bout.
If you wanna check out the rules to derby, have a look on Facebook for the Sydney Roller Derby League or Roller Derby Rule of the Day - they have all the information you need!
This is Smack Kerouac - or possibly Hunter S. Tommy-gun - signing off.

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