Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Jennifer Savage: Girl crush, the Humboldt Roller Derby – July 29, 2008

If the Humboldt Roller Derby women had cards, I’d collect’em. That’s how cool they are. They exist as a rolling definition of coolness. Sexy, sure, in their fishnets and short skirts, but they wear sexy like a shark wears menace – it’s just part of their all-powerful nature.
You can’t help but admire the sight, but you  are also completely out of your element. No wonder they make you sign a waiver as you arrive at Redwood Acres. These women are dangerous. But cheerful. Artemis with a Rocky Horror sense of humor.

A sold-out crowd of over 500 wedged into Francesci Hall last Saturday – the second derby bout featuring the Humboldt Roller Derby squad. This was my first experience. I already knew a few of the team members, so I didn’t doubt the athleticism involved, but any idea anyone may have had that this was a bunch of girls being silly on skates was shredded over the hour-plus physical exertion we witnessed. Modern roller derby is a real sport: stamina, grit and muscle required.

Following the action – how the points are scored, the purpose of the pivots – wasn’t easy at first, but that didn’t preclude hollering for your chosen team as the jammer worked her way through the mob and to the front. The bout consists of three 20-minute sessions, which in turn consist of “jams” lasting up to two minutes. The pace is similar to basketball, but with a lot more collisions (and two “half-time” shows).

Skaters blocked, bashed and knocked each other down and around, only to bounce back and strive harder. Amazing. I would need an entire tub of Tiger Balm and a full body massage after an experience like that. I imagine it’s like being body slammed in a mosh pit for 60 minutes… while simultaneously wheeling around a rink at top speed until the thigh muscles are quivering? And still one must go on.

And go on, they did. Despite a fierce rally by the totally kickass McNasty at the end, The Battle Axes fell to the Tree Sluggers, 90-84. But as far as gaining the love of the fans, both teams emerged victorious.

Check’em out at humboldtrollerderby.com.

On a totally different note, come say hi at Blue Lake Casino’s karaoke contest this Thursday at 8 p.m. Monica, Ross and I will judge – Terrence is taking photos.

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1 Comment»

  Kym wrote @

I’ve heard several people say that they loved the show/game but the most memorable comment by far was a sweet natured Mom with a faraway look in her eye–“I wonder if they need more players,” she asked.


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