Roller derby ain't for sissies, and that applies to spectators as well as skaters (hence the term, "suicide seating"). For most of us, Drew Barrymore's turn in Whip It is as close to this bad-ass sport as we've gotten.
But trust us when we say: the Heat's got nothing on these chicks. This is a knock-down, drag-out diversion that pits woman against fierce woman in an epic battle on wheels.
Sound exciting? It is. And now that Miami has its very own team of rough and rowdy derby girls, it's right in our own backyard.
The Miami Vice City Rollers take to the rink in their first home game against the Bradentucky Bombers Saturday. So we caught up with one of the team's founders, Tallygator (aka Jessica Diaz), about what to expect.
Cultist: For roller derby virgins, how would you describe the sport?
Tallygator: Roller derby is an awesome, action packed, full contact, fast-paced
sport played by strong women of various shapes, sizes, backgrounds and
talents! Here's a great video about the basics of flat track roller
How did you get involved with roller derby? What prompted you to start a team?
I was always an avid skater and rink rat while growing up. I went to my
first roller derby bout while I was away in college, and I've been
hooked on the sport ever since. After moving back to Miami, the closest
roller derby league was in Broward County. When driving up north three
to four times a week started to eat away at our gas tanks, my partner De
La Ruthless and I came up with the brilliant idea of starting our very
own league in our hometown. That's how Miami's Vice City Rollers (MVCR)
Can you outline a few key roller derby terms for newbies?
The Pack: Consists of the blockers of both teams. Blocker must be within
10-20 feet of each other to engage (block) each other or the jammers.
Blocker: Heavy hitters. No helmet cover. Skaters must stay within "the pack" to be able to block.
Jammer: Skater with a star on her helmet cover. She is the only skater able to score points during the jam.
Pivot: Wears a stripe on her helmet cover. This is a special blocker
because she can receive a "star pass" (which means the pivot can become
the jammer during a jam).
Power Jam: Only one team has a jammer on the track. This is a huge
advantage. This is when that team can score some major points.
20 Feet: Blockers can only chase jammers up to 20 feet out of the pack. After that, they must let her go.
What's "suicide seating" all about?
Suicide seating is for hard-core fans that want to get as close to the
action as possible. Fans who purchase suicide seating tickets get to sit
on the floor as close to 10 feet away from the outside of the track.
This type of seating is only for 18 and above because a skater could end
up sliding into you.
Tell us a little bit about the South Florida Rattlers Wheelchair
Rugby team and the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, your halftime show
performers and charity, respectively.
The South Florida Rattlers is a local mens' league that plays wheelchair
rugby. They'll be providing us with a demo of their full-contact sport
during our halftime show. We're all really looking forward to seeing
them in action.
The Forgotten Soldiers Outreach program is a not-for-profit organization
that provides our overseas soldiers with much-needed supplies (via care
packages) and love from home. Anyone attending our bout is encouraged
to bring supplies for the packages such as lip balm, ramen noodles,
toothbrushes, drink mixes, Q-tips, dental floss, Slim Jims, etc. Those
who bring any of these supplies get a $2 discount on general admission
at the door.
Why else should Cultist readers come out to support?
Because it's an exciting new sport to watch in Miami! Roller derby
showcases great displays of athleticism and camaraderie by women from
our hometown. This sport encompasses a new subculture of do-it-yourself,
courageous, strong women that take to the track with their derby
personas ready to knock each other down. It's definitely an
action-packed, can't miss event!
With a name like Tallygator, we can't help but believe her. So if you're
sold on the roller derby concept, you can check out the Vice City
Rollers in action tomorrow at Suniland Hockey Rink. Starting at
6:30 p.m., Miami's first and only flat track roller derby team kicks off the
2012 season against the visiting Bradentucky Bombers. Due to limited