Bring Out the Gimp

Musings on pop culture by freelance journalist Shawn Conner

My first rollerderby

Andi Struction of Terminal City Rollgergirls' Faster Pussycats.

Andi Struction of Terminal City Rollgergirls’ Faster Pussycats. Bob Ayers photo

This past week I had an idea for a fitness article for an online magazine I write for, BCLiving.ca. The idea was to talk to a local rollergirl about what fitness and health routines they practice when roller derby is in season. (You can read the article here.)

Andi Struction with Faster Pussycats

Andi Struction with Faster Pussycats. Bob Ayers photo

The story was inspired by seeing posters and ads for a match between Vancouver’s Terminal City All-Stars and Seattle’s Rat City All-Stars. The actual bout was last night and, curious about the roller derby phenomenon, we drove out to Minoru Arena in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond to catch our first flat-track roller derby game.

Terminal City Rollergirls' Faster Pussycats. Bob Ayers photo

Terminal City Rollergirls’ Faster Pussycats. Bob Ayers photo

The first bout was between the two Terminal City Rollergirls farm teams Faster Pussycats and Riot Girls. (Andi Struction, the rollergirl I’d interviewed for the article, is a Pussycat.) Their bout was fun but the real action began when Vancouver took on Seattle.

Unfortunately, following a strong lead, TCRG fell rapidly behind as the Rat City Girls’ blockers (team members whose job it is to stop the other team’s “jammer”, the member charged with racing around the track and getting past the blockers) proved to be an unbreakable wall, while the Seattle team’s jammers’ legs seemed to be made out of the same stuff as Kentucky Derby racers’. There was simply no stopping Jalapeno Business, Kamikaze Kim and Carmen Getsome. Terminal City jammer Kim Janna came closest to challenging the visiting team, but the final score was not pretty: Rat City All-Stars, 288, Terminal City All-Stars, 144 (or thereabouts).

Still, we had a blast – we loved the whole white trash vibe, from the three shirtless dudes on the floor to the big-breasted girl with the name “Dita von Tits” Sharpie’d on the back of her white T-shirt to the PBR-swilling masses packed into the beer garden and the names of the players (favourite: Hurt Russell).  The whole thing made us eager to see more matches, not just here at home but out-of-town as well – maybe in Seattle (the Rat City All-Stars’ next bout is June 23). At the very least, I’ll be watching the movie Whip It again soon.

Ellen Page in Whip It movie image

Ellen Page as Babe Ruthless in Whip It (2009).

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