SPORTS ON THE EDGE
By Rosemarie Davis
Tattooed, sexy women wearing fishnets and short skirts that skate on quads with fury – no, this is not a character from the latest campy Quentin Tarantino film. This is a description of some of our very own local female athletes in San Diego.
These women don’t fit the usual mold of what people think an athlete looks like. In fact, the image of these women is likely to break a beer bottle over that mold and spit on it. They embody the essence of punk rock by transcending those norms and astonishing you with their strength, skills, and endurance. These women take part in the grassroots roller derby team called the San Diego Derby Dolls.
Spectators that go to a derby match should not expect a street fight on wheels, J. Rocker, head of public relations, said. “This is not a theatrical sport and this is not the WWF style of roller derby like it was in the 1970’s with the Thunderbirds. These women train really hard to nail their skating skills and play a clean bout. The bouts are hard-hitting and nail-biting family fun!”
The game is played with five women from each team on the track, there are three blockers, a pivot, and a jammer from each team. The jammers are positioned behind the blockers and pivots. When the whistle blows the blockers and pivots dart out first and when they are about twenty feet from their start line the jammers dash around the track. The jammers quickly end up behind the blockers and pivots. They score points by shooting past skaters from the opposing team while the opposing team attempts to block the jammers from doing so. The game that you end up watching is a furious frenzy of skill on wheels.
For those interested in becoming a Derby Doll, Gary Stang and Bret Stang direct the boot camp at Skateworld in Linda Vista. It’s held twice a week and costs ten dollars. Each session teaches women the techniques they will need to move onto try outs.
Bonnie D. Stoir, founder of the Derby Dolls, holds tryouts every couple of weeks. She says it may take skaters a month to a few months to refine their skills before graduating from boot camp.
I’ve participated in my fair share of danger but this was the first time I’ve ever feared injury, despite my knee pads, wrist pads, elbow pads, and yes, a helmet. I know you must be thinking I’m just a wimp on wheels, but these women skate with grace and make it look easy. It takes a lot of control to skate fast and to move with precision.
The boot camp starts with a variety of techniques on how to stop, which was wise since the only thing that was going to stop me rolling was the floor! The Boot Camp was fairly simple on us novice skaters and there was another group for those with more experience.
I asked Bonnie what it takes to be a Derby Doll and she said, “Being a Derby Doll means knowing the game, having determination and drive. Anybody with a great attitude can play this sport! If you believe in yourself, you move through the ranks with quickness.”
For more information on this sport, the community of women involved, and upcoming roller derby events go to http://www.derbydolls.com.
Rosemarie Davis is a City Times staff writer