Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chattanooga Roller Girls

Wandered down to the Chattanooga last night for an evening of Roller Derby. The Chattanooga Roller Girls had their first home game of 2010 at the Convention Center. It was something I'd seen on television, and had even intended on seeing up in Knoxville or out in Nashville when the opportunity arose, but had never seen live.

Last weekend, I'd gone down to Chattanooga to watch the UFC pay per view, and the bartender, a friend of my brother-in-law's, was talking about it. She's a part of the squad, and was selling tickets. I bought a couple passes, because I am the world's easiest mark for all things out-of-the-normal, I guess.

My friend Shyam and I took off from Riceville, running through a booger of a popup thunder shower. This is neither here nor there about roller derby, but I want to say while I enjoyed the cloud-to-ground lightning show, the middle of May is a bit early for my tastes for the Southeast Tennessee summer weather pattern, where you can pretty much bank on a thundershower in the neighborhood of 4:30, every day.

Parking at the convention center around 6:15, we moseyed in to find seats maybe four rows back from the oval skate area denoted by red-tape, and further denoted by string lights duct-taped to the floor.

During warmups, I found myself obsessed with the names the roller girls had for themselves, be it the Chattanooga squad or their opponents, the Columbia QuadSquad. A brief pause for a list of some of my favorite names, by team:


1. Llama Trauma
2. Conway Gritty
3. Delia Pain
4. Gris Gris
5. Gisele Bludgeon


1. Assault n' Cattery
2. Beautiful Death
3. Lisa Marie Deadly
4. Mega M'Day
5. Billie Evil


1. Getapov DeFleur (probably my favorite, since it took a second to sink in)

Nice event to get into, considering I didn't know much about the event beyond the fact that it's women on skates, smashing into one another. And the event was very much that, though the the structure of the event was a complete mystery walking in.

The rules were easy enough to wrap my head around: Two teams on the floor at a time, five girls per team. One jammer per team on the oval at a time per 2 minute jam. The rest of the girls are blockers. Blockers skate first, followed by the jammers, both signaled to start with a ref's whistle.

The first jammer to make it through the pack of opposing blockers is the lead jammer. That girl has the ability to call off the jam (signaled with both hands on the hips on and off). Scoring is determined as the jammer makes their way through the pack a second time. Each opposing blocker passed is a point, and if the lead jammer manages to pass the opposing team's jammmer, lapping her, it's another point for a Grand Slam.

Simple enough to wrap your head around. Very easy to get into, to scream and yell until your heart's content.

If there was a complaint, it was that there wasn't enough explanation from the announcers (a couple of local radio jocks whose names elude me) on why certain players were called for penalties. Don't know if that was a lack of knowledge on their part, or a lack of communication from the floor officials to them, though at various times I saw the same hand signals for False Start and Offsides, and Too Many Men on the Field (though I don't know if the hand signals meant necessarily the same things in roller derby).

But then, go to a hockey game, and half the folks there can't explain what icing is. Even fewer can explain what happened with a balk, in baseball. Roller Derby penalties seem much more accessible.

Anyway, Columbia came off with the win, much to the chagrin of the Chattanooga crowd (which, let me mention, represented itself well...reckoning crowd numbers is like counting jellybeans in a jar, or minnows in a tank...but I'd figure there may have been between 1200 and 1400 people in attendance.) The Chattanooga team made a helluva comeback run in the second half, but it wasn't enough.

Also? Nobody punched the hell of each other. Fighting, I learned, is discouraged.

Nothing's perfect, I guess.

Anyway, it was an excuse to get out and it was easy to scream and yell. Working retail will do that to a brother. No yelling ad screaming means Tommy gets frustration created diarrhea. Call that a Fun fact. Ain't I a catch, ladies?

Maybe I need to go smash the hell out of something.

Chattanooga's next home game isn't until October. There's a team up in Knoxville, and another out in Nashville. Might have to make it out that way again....


Blogger Cullen said...

I've been meaning to get out to see the Memphis girls, but haven't yet. The Goon comic book is sponsored, in part, by the Nashville team.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

Thanks for coming out and seeing what all the hype is about. :-) Hope to see you in the crowd again soon. I know it is a little last minute, but we have a game March 19 (same place). If you do come, we would love to meet you. Thanks again for the great blog on our game. :-D

11:20 PM  

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