Running from the Law: Arch Rival Roller Girls

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Arch Rival Roller Girls

Way back in February (seriously, how did it get to be mid-April already?), Ryan and I decided to go (ok, so really, I decided and forced him to take me) to a St. Louis Arch Rivals Roller Derby bout.  Yes, ROLLER DERBY!!  How freaking awesome is that?! 

And what is more awesome than going to watch roller derby?  I'll tell you...knowing one of the roller derby girls is more awesome!  For real!  Ok, so not really.  Well, kinda really.  Let me explain...

For about a year now, I've been Internet stalking friends with Courtney.  You can read her hilarious blog HERE (although, it appears as though she has gone on an extended blogging hiatus - please start blogging again Courtney!).  Courtney is a fellow lawyer and friends with a lot of my friends.  How our paths have never crossed is a mystery to me because she's awesome, and I'm awesome.  Naturally, we're destined to be besties. 

Anywho, Courtney is a lawyer by day, but by night, she assumes the alter-ego of "Mayor Francis Slayer," co-captain and lead blocker for The Stunt Devils.  Ever since I found this out, I have been dying to get to one of her roller derby bouts. 

Finally, one fateful February evening, it was going to happen.

We got to the arena a little early and caught the tail end of the first bout - Rebel Skate Alliance vs. M-80's.  This gave us some time to familiarize ourselves with the rules of the sport and have a couple beers, so we could really get into it. 
I think one of the best parts of Roller Derby are the names.  The first bout featured players like Stabby McCutcha, Chewblocka, Smarty McFly, Sue She, Science Friction, Badonka Bam and The Punctuator. 
The second bout was The Smashionistas vs. The Stunt Devils.  This bout had players like Shimmy Hoffa, Polka Dot Yur Eye Out, Deathica Steele, Grave Danger, Beretta Michaels, Punchus Pileup and Trippity Hooha.  I loved them all.
But of course, we loved "Mayor Francis Slayer" best of all. 
(FYI, for those of you not from St. Louis, the mayor of our great city is Francis Slay.) 
So, here's how it works. 
Each team has one Jammer. 
The Jammers are the scoring position on each team.
Jammers are designated by a star worn on their helmet.
The other positions on each team are Blockers.
The lead blockers are called Pivots -- they are designated by a stripe worn on their helmets.
Pivots control the speed of their team members and serve as
the last line of defense against the Jammer from the opposing team. 
The eight blockers, four from each team, make up the "pack."
The pack lines up in front, with the Jammers behind.
When the first whistle is blown, the pack, led by the Pivots, begins to skate. 
Jammers begin to skate when the second whistle blows.
Jammers then try to make their way through the pack.
Ok, stay with me, this is where it gets good.

Blockers try to keep the opposing Jammer from getting through,
while simultaneously trying to help their own Jammer.
On the first pass through the pack, the first Jammer to pass each member
of the pack while staying in bounds and without fouling becomes Lead Jammer.
A referee will point to the lead jammer as she skates to designate her status. 
Lead jammer has the strategic advantage of calling off the
 "Jam" at any time by placing her hands on her hips.
A jam lasts a maximum of two minutes, or until the lead jammer calls it off.
(Mighty Mighty Boston below...she's wicked fast.)
Jammers begin to accrue points on their second pass through the pack.
They receive one point for every opposing player they pass.
On the flip side, Jammers will not be awarded points if they foul the
opposing player they are passing or if either of their skates steps
 out of bounds while passing that opposing player. 
Jammers may also re-pass players to get points.
At the end of the 2 minutes, the points are tallied.
The players patiently await the results.
The "Jeerleaders" entertain the crowd.

And it all starts again! 
Pure awesomeness.
Other than the fabulous roller derby names, my favorite part was the blocking.
I loved the hip checking and tripping and shoving!
Maybe that's why I like hockey so much too.
Does that say something about me?
Mayor is a bad-ass blocker.
And I'm not just saying that because we're imaginary friends.
It was really fun to cheer for her!
Ryan, on the other hand, loved the Jammers. 
Particularly, this one.
Downtown Dallis.
I think he had a bit of a crush on her.

Unfortunately, Mayor's team did not win this night.
Victory went to Downtown Dallis and her Smashionistas.
But I did get the opportunity (post-bout) to meet Courtney and beg for her autograph.
It was surreal.

I've since heard that her team went on to win the World Championships
or something equally as awesome. 

My autograph just got way more valuable.


  1. Sara, you rock, and you're right, we are destined to be besties. Your photography is really great, derby is not easy to shoot! Thanks for this awesome post, I feel totally famous!

  2. Ummm, awesome. Also, my roller derby name would be Stabby McGee I think. Fitting, no?

  3. I love that I know both of you!! The three of us should get dinner next week!

  4. When is this reunion going to HAPPEN!? Sara, awesome post. I loved reading this and looking at the photos!

  5. Awesome was like a flashback for me, and now I am pissed again that the Stunts didn't win...arrrrgggghhhh!

  6. I work next to the Civic Center in our town and the 'Blue Ride Roller Girls' are always there. You make me want to stop in and see them one night!

  7. I have never been to a roller derby game but they sound like so much fun! You got some great pictures. And your friend has the best name of all - so creative!

  8. Awesome! I feel so dumb; I had no idea a roller derby was actually a game, with rules and points and winners and losers. I thought people just skated around and bumped into each other a lot. Thank you for such an enlightening post!

  9. Love the pictures! I wish we had cool games like this in my state!

  10. i have ALWAYS wanted to go to a roller derby. looks like so much fun!

  11. I would love to see roller derby in person! It sounds so fun.