Charm City Roller Girls

What beats watching punk girls drop each other- all while on roller skates?

Absolutely nothing, my friend. Absolutely nothing.

My classmates and I went to see the Charm City Roller Girls in action this past Saturday, and let me tell you, it was a hoot. It's a cross between tackle football and rugby, but done on roller skates. There are two teams that race around a track (standard indoor gym track) for 30 minutes of 2 minute jams. A jam can last no longer than 2 minutes but can be stopped by the jammer at any time. The "jammer," one for each team, leads the pack and points are awarded by how many laps the jammer of a particular team is out in front. You push and shove and barrel your way through the pack in order to make it out in front.

The rules, after a while, are sort of irrelevent. There's a bunch of pushing and shoving and falling and you end up shaking your head and thinking these people are whacked. And then wanting to take up the sport. First, however, you will need roller skates (duh), knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, a helmet, and mouth guards. One girl was roaming the arena in a hot pink helment with a black faux-hawk on top. An ambulance team is standing by. Like I said, this ain't a sport for sissies.

Each roller girl has a name she picks. Some of the classics were "Flo Shizzle," "Aunt Abuse," "Stormin' Mormon," "Duchess of Torque," and "She Who Cannot Be Named." I am quite partial to Flo, myself.

I think this is fantastic for building self-esteem. Women of every shape and size can participate, and are encouraged to. I'll admit- there are copious amounts of tattoos and piercings. But I think that adds to the fact that these women are doing something outside the standard realm of what society considers "acceptable" and "respectable," and yet they enjoy themselves and have fun and have a group to belong to.

Even better, the Charm City Roller Girls support many area charities and causes, and invite small business owners to sell their goods at the derbies. Don't get any ideas- I don't think this is a good match for my jewelry. Unless I started creating rhinestone-studded eye patches.

I'll totally be going back.

(For photos of bouts, check out the sets by epmd)

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Faith said...

I have always wanted to do this (and I have the requisite tats) but my record on rollerskates is not so great...I should go watch a match of my locals - the Derby Dolls - though.

disordered girl said...

My best girlfriend is a texas rollergirl and it is a ton of fun to go to a game. For her and the other girls it is VERY empowering, but um, yeah, she also just separated her shoulder during a practice, so I'll stay on the sidelines! :-)

JT said...

Ok, I'll be showing my age here but in the 60's (maybe early 70's) it was called Roller Derby and use to be televised. I believe it was on tv on Saturday afternoons. :-)

carrie said...


Yeah, my record isn't exactly stellar. It's fun, though.


After about 30 seconds of watching the first bout, I realized just exactly why the ambulance was there.


My Mom saw the video and said it was quite tame from what she remembered in the 60s and 70s. These are still called "roller derby," though.

Sarah said...

HEE! "Aunt Abuse."

carrie said...


I so thought of you when I heard her name. I knew you would appreciate it. :)

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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