I enjoyed Whip It, Drew Barrymore’s movie about a Texas teen (Ellen Page!) who ran away to join the roller derby. The soundtrack is one of my favorite “get up NOW!” aides. So when my friend suggested we see the championship games of the DC Rollergirls, the Federal City’s “all-female, amateur, flat-track roller derby league,” we went. This isn’t the same type of roller derby as in the movie: There isn’t a special arena, but the energy, the tongue-in-cheek names (the Whip It heroine became “Babe Ruthless“), and the unabashed geyser of girl power were familiar. We LOVED it!
Playing were all four of the area teams: Cherry Blossom Bombshells, DC DemonCats (of the awesome logo), Majority Whips, and Scare Force One. The spectators were supportive and seemed to include many of the skaters’ family members: parents, grandparents, partners, siblings, friends, and lots of children–this is a family-friendly event. Here was a home crowd for everyone. Plus, cookies were sold to support the teams. The Rollergirls is a non-profit outfit, run entirely by the skaters themselves, so bring cash (the cookies are amazing).
My favorite support unit was for the Majority Whips skater “Frak You”: Both parents wore identifying shirts, and grandma came in team color.
Derby names were fun: “Stabigail Adams,” “Queen Kamayhemayhem,” “Velocityraptor,” “Bruisehilda.” How cool are these women? Very.
Action was fast and often furious. My grasp of the rules remains a bit tenuous, but explanatory reading material is provided, if one is so inclined. It was just as fun without it.
The coveted trophy was presented, and the elated spectators and teams headed home, just as the DC United fans began piling out of the RFK Stadium next door. Parking by DC Armory, the usual venue for the Rollergirls, is a nightmare for this reason. Choose metro and its Blue/Orange line stop “Stadium-Armory.” We foolishly didn’t. Still, even an hour of being stuck at the parking lot did not mar the day one bit. And, LOOK, the 2013 bouts are about to begin: The DC Rollergirls Schedule is online. Do go, these women really need a warehouse.