Archive for the ‘roller derby’ Tag

No Balls, Some Glory

Declaration of DerbyI’m psyched to be going tomorrow to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia to watch the quarter-finals and final four of the Women’s Flat Track [Roller] Derby Association (WFTDA) national tournament, aka the Declaration of Derby. The tournament begins today and ends Sunday with the awarding of the Hydra trophy to the winning team.

Roller derby? Hell yeah!

To paraphrase a hackneyed phrase that appears in some form in almost every mainstream media article on modern roller derby, it’s not the roller derby of my youth. That is to say, the sport of “classic roller derby” I watched in the early ’70s on UHF TV was a scripted spectacle in which an impressive degree of athleticism was secondary to fighting and pro wrestling-style hero-and-villain posing.

Modern derby is played as legitimate sport. Unsurprisingly to me, it works. When the modern derby movement started in 2001 in Austin, TX, the founders initially planned to play it as spectacle. They quickly found it was more fun — not to mention safer — to play for real.

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