I’ve never had a tremendous love for sports or sports-related activities, and even have somewhat of a dislike for those that are gung-ho about following them. But last night I was introduced to a sport that I might be able to get behind. I found myself getting really in to the event without even realizing what was happening to me.
Roller derby. That’s right, I’ve become a fan of roller derby and the San Diego Derby Dolls. As a San Diego resident I was pretty outnumbered during last night’s event in Los Angeles but there were still a large number of San Diego fans during the game. Everyone that was there was in to the spirit of the game, and I got swept up in it as well.
When my friend Lori mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that she was going to see the LA Derby Dolls (the Varsity Brawlers) at the Doll Factory I kinda chuckled and asked, “are you serious?” She was, and she bought our tickets that afternoon. As it turns out her friend Ashley from Michigan is part of a roller derby called Mid Michigan Derby Girls and she was going to be in town visiting this week so we had someone with us who was in the know on what was going on. Ashley goes by the name of Smash YoFacin’ (#TKO) and none of us, including her, knew exactly what to expect when we showed up at the Doll Factory.
The Doll Factory is a warehouse in Filipinotown and at the time that we arrived there were people approaching the entrance (2 or 3 bay doors) from all directions. Outside the Factory there was a Hot Dog on a Stick roach coach and more than a dozen port-o-potties, and droves of people dressed in everything from rockabilly to suits. Entering the Factory the men were patted down by security and everyone was checked to make sure that they weren’t smuggling any cameras. My one problem with the evening was that the Factory and the Brawlers don’t allow cameras of any kind (cell phones are OK) in to the facility so there is no obvious filming of any kind approved.
I’m not sure why but walking around the warehouse prior to the start of the first match brought me back to my college days. I think it was the rockabilly and non-mainstream people that were everywhere that did it. I wasn’t really out of place, but I didn’t quite fit in either. It was great. And the mood there was so upbeat that it made getting in to the spirit of the event that much easier. Beer was everywhere, a few different kinds of food, and all kinds of “derby-ware” for sale in every corner of non-arena half of the Factory. Live music on the stage to the back of the warehouse set the mood.
On to the arena. We had VIP tickets ($40) which gave us access to an indoor bathroom and VIP bar, and we were able to sit in bleachers above the banked track. As uncomfortable as the bleachers may have been during the 3 hour game it must have been more comfortable than standing in the general admission area ($17+). I was grateful that we had a place to sit and there didn’t seem to be a bad location on the bleachers to sit, but I’m easy when it comes to finding a seat that I’m happy with.
I won’t get in to the game itself other than there are women skating around a banked track trying to score points against one another. The rules can be found here. The matches are short and exciting and it was easy to get me riled up over a San Diego jammer getting knocked down, blocked, or otherwise locked out from getting a point. Some of the girls are hot, some are ruggedly hot, and some are just plain rugged. Hell, I think every one of them there could take me in a fight, with or without roller skates. The names are hilarious and the numbers that they choose for themselves are just as outrageous. Kiki Diazz (#88) and Kung Pow Tina (#7&7) were my favorites on the team, but Slamurai (#7) and Estro Jen (#ru486) were easily contenders as well. There were several others that may have performed better, but being up close to those 4 has helped to sway them in to my favor.
I spoke to Kiki Diaz briefly before the first match and she let me know that the San Diego teams compete at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and that I needed to come out and support them. I very much agreed. Her tattoos and booty shorts convinced me.
Roller derby is my new favorite sport. The San Diego teams do allow photography so I’ll be sure to have something to post here after the next match that I make it to.