Braving the seedy side of Joburg South on a Saturday night is no easy feat, but my optimism is spurring me on. My roller derby cherry is about to be popped by dozens of hot chicks on roller skates. With names like the The Thundering Hell Cats vs. The Raging Whoremones, this can only go well.
So what’s the lowdown on roller derby? In a nutshell, five ladies from two teams have two minutes to get one of their members (the Jammer) around the track as many times as possible while trying to block the other team’s Jammer, scoring points each time a Jammer passes an opposing team member. Did I mention that roller derby is a contact sport? So biting the dust is guaranteed.
Game on, the crowd is pleasantly eclectic as the echoes of one collective “ooooooh!” after another drown each other out. These ladies are tough. Not breaking a nail and not crying about it tough. We’re talking about bailing on a polished hard surface, having your fingers stomped on by roller skates and then getting straight back up and on with the game tough. There will be time for counting broken nails when the game is done.
Half time strikes and a local band take to the stage. The oversized sound system constricted by the intimate venue, lends itself to the thick hard tunes. A few tracks in, the ladies return to the arena to finish what they’d started.
The evening continues in a flurry of pink Raging Whoremones and yellow Hellcats streaking round the track. The game is most definitely on as the score is too close for comfort. Tensions are running a lot higher than earlier in the match. The ambulance outside is waiting eagerly for its first broken and battered passenger, but waits in vain. It’s going home with an empty belly tonight.
The final whistle blows and it’s all over. The Raging Whoremones have taken a narrow 118 to 111 victory. After a night of guts and glory, the victors stand tall on their roller skates.
I’m hooked, and although these ladies are dressed to kill, it is vastly overshadowed by the gruellingly fun sport that is roller derby. These chicks are wickedly tough, immensely fit and dead serious about winning. Not so sure I should even be calling them “chicks”, as it may lead to the demise of my manly bits under four hard little pink wheels.
Keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground for a roller derby event in your area. It may not be the Olympics, but it’s a damn side more fun.