Too chicken to play all-female flat track roller derby myself, but it is awesome to be a spectator. I’ve recently been introduced to this team sport, and my current fav is the Switchblade Sisters, a team in the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins league.
The officials are almost as much fun to watch as the flat track action itself. I spent a fair amount of time at the last bout on September 4th trying to capture the antics of Stella Knockout (derby names are fun). She skidded on her knees on the edge of the track (a few feet from me) after every other play like she was sliding into home plate. Never quite got the shot I wanted, though. As seen here, she rocks the referee uniform.
I’m really not one for sports. I was forced to play team sports as an adolescent and hated it all. Now, I tend toward individual or partnered recreational activities, not competitive ones, and I don’t watch sports on television. The entertaining aspect of roller derby (for me) has a great deal to do with empowering women, and the majority of spectators are women and girls. I plan say a bit more about this and the appealing third-wave punk aesthetic, too, when I’m not so sleepy; women-centered space can be creative and interesting to occupy. The number of supportive males in the sport, in terms of both audience and officials, is not too shabby from what I’ve seen in this league.
For a fun and informative look at roller derby, check out the excellent documentary Blood on the Flat Track: The Rise of the Rat City Roller Girls.