I remember watching roller derby on TV as a kid–a cheesy pseudo-sport featuring men and women racing around a small, banked track and beating the daylights out of each other. I realize now that it was a fake as wrestling, but it sure was fun in black and white.
Well, roller derby is back, and we went to see it.
The game today is all female, on a flat “track” which is just a portable floor set up in the old Lincoln assembly plant in Point Richmond, now known as the Richmond Pavillion. The only other time I was there was to see a site-specific ballet by Merce Cunningham–this is about as much of a polar opposite as you can imagine.
The place was packed–we spent the big money ($25) for “VIP” seating, which got us bleachers right in front and a free drink. There may well have been 3000 people in attendance.
I can’t explain roller derby, but it doesn’t matter. There are two teams, skating around a very small oval track. Somebody breaks out of the pack and tries to lap the field and gets points for each of the opposing team they can pass. There is lots of pushing and shoving. It’s fast and exciting.
The players all seem have a nom de skate. The most exciting player on the San Francisco Shevil Dead team is Trixy Pixy, who is about 83 pounds soaking wet and tears around the track scooting in and out and under. The Richmond Wrecking Belles feature Chantilly Mace. Even the referees are in on the joke–there are Sexy Beast and One-Z, among others.
The season seems to be over for 2012, but we’ll be back there next year. It’s a fun evening with an interesting group of people and tons of excitement.
I went with my little camera, which isn’t really the thing for sports photography, so I mostly took photos of the crowd. I’m just going to put them all in a slideshow, I hope you enjoy it.