Roller Derby for outsiders

My first exposure to the Roller Derby was last night, thanks to resident sports writer and personal home dog Andy Frye. If you weren’t aware, The Windy City Rollers is a women’s roller derby league , “the number one women’s derby league in Chicago” in fact. Last night’s game was at the UIC and boy did we get a show!

A few observations:

1. It’s a bit of a fashion event. I loved seeing studded shorts and fur boots. The vibe is a mix of Bettie Page, biker babe and Rainbow Bright. I was planning to use my new pink wig for an Effie Trinket costume this Halloween (hi, it’s January) but now I might go as a derby girl. I could rock an eyeliner arm tattoo like ain’t nobody’s biz.

2. I was expecting more anger. My latent assumption of roller derby was that it was hockey for women with beat downs and a penalty box*. While there’s certainly competitive energy and I wouldn’t cross any of them in a bar, absolutely no one lost teeth last night. Papa Doc had to fix a shin, but other than that it was completely free of medical disasters, unintentional or otherwise.

3. It is actually interesting. I know that sounds terrible, but I’m one of those ladies who disappears into my thoughts when sports comes on TV. It’s like gazing at a campfire. Sorry. Add that to women’s sports in general having a reputation for being less than, um, captivating and I thought I’d be in for a little nap. NO. WAY. Roller derby is possibly the only sport that is interesting besides a very good Cubs season**

4. The chicks are hot! Why was I thinking this was going to be like watching drag football? It makes total sense that they would be in shape given all the skating they do and with the above mentioned fashion element these ladies are positively adorable! Scary Tyler Mom and I exercised our female privilege to blatantly check out rears all night.

5. There’s breakdancing. During the intermissions (“halftimes”?) various b-boys and girls stunted for our entertainment.

6. Not sure if this is cool to say, but it’s certainly true . . . shit is white. I mean white-white. I did not see one brown face anywhere at any time except outside in the parking lot directing traffic. This is Chicago, people. And roller derby is such an interesting experience I can’t imagine why it doesn’t have a more diverse appeal. It’s like Whole Foods and the Gap got married while driving fixie bikes and listening to NPR.

UPDATE 10:51 AM – I am not the only observer of this fact! Whew.

Overall recommendation: Go! There’s booze and popcorn in addition to women in fishnet tights knocking each other over.

*Okay, if I’m perfectly honest, before last month I thought roller derby was a dance show ala the ice capades

**Altogether now: HA!


Filed under: Field Trips

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