Spot Check: Skate to the Heart

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Admit it – you’ve secretly fantasized about being a rollergirl, or possibly just dating one. The skates, the glitter, the fishnets… what more could you want? Maybe watching your friends and neighbors hip check each other at Centennial Hall on a Saturday night. That’s what I did at Skate to the Heart: League Mashup, the Juneau Rollergirls first bout of the year. The teams, Brute Roses and Cupid’s Crushers, entered the  arena ready to win. These ladies know how to rock and they’re looking for new recruits. Roller derby is much more than women skating around in hot pants, they donate five percent of the ticket sales to community non-profits like SAIL. So stop hatin and start skatin!

DSCF6766Before the match 360North commentator (and Excellent Radio superstar) Andy Kline developed a bad case of the Bob Costas pink eye. Don’t get too close people.

DSCF6778Nothing says “don’t mess with the U.S.” like a man on roller skates circling to the National Anthem. The Juneau Rollergirls dare to be that patriotic.

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For these roller chicks, it’s all about getting low and backing it up.

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Here’s Andy with co-host Patti Kalbrenner demonstrating the way to move your opponent. Use your butt to lean in and knock them off balance.

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The truth is, roller derby is kinda complicated. There are lots of rules, and even with detailed descriptions provided in the program, most of us were still scratching our heads. The best way to describe the game is similar to football. There are blockers who devise plays to make room for their scoring player to pass through, while simultaneously trying to block out their opposing team’s scoring player, the jammer. What’s a jammer? It’s the player whose job is to lap the opposing team’s players, who hang out in a big ten foot clump, to score points. You can recognize her by the fabric “helmet panty” with a star on it. As jammer you take a lot of abuse and get tired real fast. Every two minutes or so, they’re exchanged for new jammer.

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Here’s MVP jammer April Mayhem whizzing by in her pink sparkly shorts. She so fast it’s a blur.

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If you’re not interested in the bumps or bruises there’s still other cool ways you can participate – like these referees Miso Nasty, Rackula, and Sol Grrr. These ladies keep the game rolling.

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Ben Lyman and DJ Manu keeping it classy on the microphone. DJ Manu played dub step Bob Marley remixes, while Ben wore Manu’s jacket.

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At half time I checked in with teams. Back in the locker room, Brute Roses talk strategy.

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Cupid’s Crusher’s have their own pep talk.

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Bitter Glitter smiles with her mouth guard in. Gotta protect those pearly whites.

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Skara U Knightly showed me her crazy bruise. It looks way gross in real life.

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It takes a village to have a great derby bout – and they want you.  Email recruiter@rollergirls.com to learn how to get involved.

The next bout is on March 22 against the Fairbanks Rollergirl All Stars, derby with a “heart of cold.” See you there, Juneau.