Celtic Thunder has agreed to carry out the task of writing about men in the world of derby. Because roller derby is primarily a female sport, attention is rarely paid to the guys who battle it out on the track. Therefore, I thought the topic deserved some attention and hey, learning more about the boys is something I'm all for!
Last month, Celtic attended a bout and had the privilege of catching a men's competition that night as well. Here's her story about how it all went down.
It was cold and brutal, much like the assassination of President Lincoln, inside the big white tent, but that didn’t stop fans from cheering on their favorite roller dude. That’s right…I said roller DUDE in the Lincolns vs. Booths men’s derby bout on February 21st in Atlantic City.There I was, sitting on the bleachers that had a sign stating: “Sit at your own risk: Skaters fly.” I had a front row seat to the mayhem, waiting in anticipation for that first pack whistle followed by the Jammer whistle.
And before I could blink, the New York Shock Exchange who was divided for the day as Lincolns and Booths, took off at full speed.
It was nothing like I have ever seen before. It was roller derby in fast forward! The pack was racing; Jammers were flying, some successfully making it through. But it was difficult as what we know as roller girls as hitting, seemed like tapping after watching these men slam into one another to help their Jammers score points. It was amazing to watch the drills that they practice really come into play. Many a time, the men would literally stop at the drop of a hat and jump from the outside to the inside line, doing 180’s to control themselves from falling.
Needless to say, the jams were intense. Flying Squirrel and Rinkworm made jamming look like a piece of cake as they applied both speed and quick maneuvering through the pack. However, their opponents did not make it as easy as they were throwing hits, which cost many of them penalties, including one of our own Long Island Roller Rebels, Jefferee, who played as a blocker for many of the jams.
As the period came closer to an end, the jams got more aggressive, both teams fighting for the winning points. The clock hit zero and the Lincolns and Booths finished out their last jam. The Lincolns took victory with 67—blowing the Booths out of the water with only 33 points.
On the rink, these men portrayed determination and pure aggressiveness, which made the bout that much more exciting. But at the end of the day, the team came together, congratulating each other on their awesome playing and success. Over some brewskies at the bar, the men showed amazing sportsmanship. Exactly what derby is all about!