Linda Pena, the fan sitting next to me who attends every home bout with her son Ethan turned to me, smiled, and said, “You do the same thing I do - hold your hands up in front of your mouth.”
“I know, it’s so intense, I can’t believe it’s this intense even though the Scarlets are so far ahead.” I responded.
Unlike all the other team sports roller derby doesn't lose it's competitive intensity no matter how far of a lead. What made this bout so intense was what makes these athletes so admirable: good sportsmanship. They kept their fighting team spirit alive whether they were on top or clawing their way up from under. Throughout the bout the Scarlets didn’t let their lead go to their heads; they kept hammering away. They had too. They knew they were up against a formidable foe. Likewise the Bombshells would not give up and their spirit was never broken. I am sure I wasn’t the only fan praying the Scarlets would not get complacent and rest on their laurels. The concern was that if they did it was quite possible the Bombshells would rip them to shreds.
The Bombshell’s Maiden Hades #5150 and Inflict Her Pain #29 were a dynamic duo to be reckoned with. Intimidating, they would skate backwards blocking the Scarlets’ jammers face to face. Something I’ve never seen in a bout up until now. They may have been the opposing team but they earned the audience’s respect by their determination and commitment to winning right up until the end in spite of the 157 – 60 lead the Scarlets had on them.
This bout made it obvious as to what makes makes roller derby standout from other professional sports in recent years. No it's not the gorgeous girls in cute shorts, wearing fishnet stockings, on roller skates engaged in a contact sport. Nor is it the opportunity to vicariously release your superhero alter-ego, as these ladies do by donning their roller derby names. What makes them stand out is the fact that these athletes demonstrate that roller derby is quite possibly one of the last remaining team sports where true sportsmanship can still be admired. Their demonstration of virtues such as fairness, self-control, courage, persistence, and respect for rules of the game and their opponents is a throw back to the good old days of Baseball legends like gentleman Joe DiMaggio. Who would believe these tattooed, fishnet wearing bombshells would be today's athletic heroes? They fight with honor and dignity while in the arena - giving us all something to root for and aspire to.
Next bout is this Saturday, October 15th, doors open at 7pm / bout at 8pm, Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, CA 90230. Tickets $14 www.AngelCityDerbyGirls.com
They wear “bout-fits.” True, that’s what they’re called.
*Click here to read an edited version of this story that appeared in the Culver City News, Thursday, August 18, 2011 and October 6th, 2011.
Enjoy video from the bout and a quickie - on the basics of flat track roller derby.