An Evening With the Derby Girls

On Saturday N and I went with our friend Erica to our first roller derby bout. We had a great time!

Our home team, The Molly Morbids (love the name!), was playing a visiting team, the Nevada East Roller Girls. The wife of one of N's coworkers is on The Molly Morbids (her derby name is Pain In The Nikki) so we had a lot of fun cheering for her and the rest of the girls on our home team.

The little knowledge I had about roller derby came from watching the movie Whip It a few years ago so I was a little unclear on the rules but after we watched a few jams (plays) it was easy to catch on to the gist of things. The finer points of some jams still eluded me sometimes but it was easy to know when to cheer.

Basically one girl from each team (the "Jammer") tries to lap the other plays on the rink. The Jammer that gets out in front first becomes the Lead Jammer and scores points for every member of the other team she passes. Her teammates try and help her get past the other team while the other team tries to block her or knock her down.

Legal blocks include hitting anywhere from the other player's shoulder to their upper thigh (so no smashing them in the face or tripping) and you can hit with your hips, torso, and arm and shoulder (but not elbow).

Besides the exciting plays there are other fun aspects to roller derby: the girls wear fishnets and little spanky shorts and have punny names like Chiquita Wa-bam Ya and Beat-Her Venkman. There's a lot of entertaining showmanship. But make no mistake, the girls are in great shape and amazingly tough. And you also see women of all shapes and sizes playing this athletic game.

Things were pretty clean the first half of the game but in the second half the blocks were flying. When the girls get knocked down as they're whipping around the rink it can get pretty brutal, as you can imagine. It was really exciting and I found myself whooping and hollering whenever we scored.

The local league plays most of its games down at an old Food 4 Less in Spanish Fork, which is a long drive for us, but if they come back to Orem I'm totally there.

For more information, see the Happy Valley Derby Darlins site.

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