Harbor City Rollerdames Blast Minneapolis

I have but one concession to my St. Paul Life (1995-2005) as I live in Duluth for my sixth year: I love Green Mill. Happy Hour apps are $5.99, instead of $5, and the Alamo Nachos is off the list, again, but Green Mill remains a Happy Hour First Choice for me … which explains why, despite that Minneapolis/St. Paul nostalgia, I had a great time tonight rooting for the Harbor City Rollerdames.

HCRD

The dames slaughtered Delta Delta Di- North Star Roller Girls. Notable shining Dames this time include Wright Round Ya (#40 in your playbook, #1 in your heart), who set the pace eary by racking up dozens of points to bust into the lead. Also shining: the Norwegian Squirrel (#331), Gypsy Roller (#773) and Killah Cleta (#0207), who racked up points of their own.

But this was as much a Pack game as a Jammer’s game. There were (it seemed to me) a high number of fouls and a lot of tumbles, generally, as the Roller Girls pulled out their “A” game. By “A” game, I mean elbowing and pounding and tripping, it seems to me, as those Minneapolitans played dirty. Our pack (which includes jammers when they are not jamming as well as specialists like Devilsmama, Janet Smackson, Thunder Bunz, and others) did their part not just in slowing the other jammer, but also in distracting and shaping the pack of the other team to let our jammer through).

At the same time the Dames partnered with the CHUM center of Duluth as “the spotlighted Charity to help fight hunger in our community.” They held a food drive. I wish I’d had checked the website beforehand, as I would have brought some food.

Our dinner party, which did not join us for the game, asked me: why do you think this is feminist? I blathered a little bit about grrrrrl power, but I admit — I could use a better answer and would welcome some thought.
——————–

Next Game:
Sat. Nov. 19, home
Babes of Thunder- from Thunder Bay, Canada at South Pioneer Hall, DECC- Duluth, MN

24 Comments

hbh1

about 11 years ago

The teams are run by and for women. All body types are encouraged. Strength is the name of the game. Dressing provocatively while being strong and athletic is kind of a poke in the eye about what is considered sexy in our society, and costuming/uniforms are not created by and for men. Not everything that is feminist is deadly serious, no matter what lightbulb jokes tell you.

Firebottle

about 11 years ago

Uh, you are aware that this is wrestling on roller skates, as in "fixed" -- wink wink???

Whatever blows your skirt up I guess.

adam

about 11 years ago

Firebottle, you are a lummox. Maybe try being informed.

c-freak

about 11 years ago

It was a great bout!

Les Nelson

about 11 years ago

So Adam, you are saying this is real?? You need to get informed and quit watching WWF.

Pfffft.

Hot Shot

about 11 years ago

How do you figure this sport is fixed? The girls I know on the team train pretty hard and are very passionate and competitive. The injuries are real. The scoring and end results are real. The excitement at the bouts is real.
What parts could be predetermined?

Les Nelson

about 11 years ago

So Adam, you are saying this is real?? You need to get informed and quit watching WWF. Pfffft.
Well, I did some research, the old/original Roller Derby was fixed and staged. It appears the "new and improved" version is not. My apologies. But, it's still dumb! Go watch paint dry at the Greyhound station.

Hot Shot

about 11 years ago

Kinda like tolling PDD is fixed and about as exciting as watching paint dry?

I suspect an alpha male hopeful who is concerned with a bunch of tough girls on skates stealing his masculinity.

And with that, I'm done feeding the troll.

emmadogs

about 11 years ago

Hi Rhetoricguy--I was clueless about this sport. Then, being more of a film person, I saw Whip It, and now get why this is such a great feminist sport.  So if your dinner party is like me, and doesn't get out to see things like this, have them watch the film. It's great.

KiLLah

about 11 years ago

Rhetoricguy, thank you for your support of local roller derby. I'm going to attempt to answer this question as I perceive the issue, not on behalf of the league I participate in. I should make you aware of prenotions; I am a feminist, I play roller derby, and I love dressing so called "sexy."
 
On that note, there is a huge discrepancy in the feminist world about whether or not Women's Roller Derby is a feminist sport for many of the same reasons that the Slut Walks are so controversial. 

It is important to acknowledge the history of roller skating and roller derby to see its feminist roots. I found a research paper on the history of derby and women's skating if you'd like more info (http://newyorksociologist.org/08/Storms-08.pdf). Author, Carolyn E. Storms states that in the 1890s Victorian women gained unusual freedom by going to roller skating rinks. She sites this with a Chicago Tribune article published in 1883 which described the freedom and temporary liberation that women experienced while skating. Also, keep in mind this was a time when women's physical activity was seen as unfeminine and discouraged. 

In 1939, Leo Seltzer's created a touring company of all female roller derby teams from New York and Chicago. 

Roller derby hit televisions in 1948 but unfortunately was adapted for television by script and rules: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_derby. This, my dear friend, is where the folklore of contemporary derby being "fake" or "fixed" sprung and is completely false of our league and the leagues we bout.

The Third Wave feminism and "DIY" movement has taken hold of the modern roller derby culture creating this space for a sport which has incorporated women of all shapes and sizes to participate whether by skating, NSO, referee, bout production, and/or volunteering for their local league and resisting preexisting patriarchal male institutions. The philosophy is "by skaters, for skaters." The Harbor City Roller Dames are skater owned and operated. You might have heard us say we "pay to play" the real sport of roller derby. Check the HCRD's website for a background and more information (harborcityrollerdames.com). 

So what does this have to do with feminism? Is there even a relation between feminism and roller derby? To answer these questions, I will use my personal experience because the personal is always political, right?!
I had no idea what to expect when I joined our local roller derby team back in the Spring of 2009. What I found was an athletic lifestyle and some of the greatest women I have ever come into contact with in this area. This is feminism at its prime; women organizing and supporting each other. We fight to be recognized as a legitimate sport, which we are, and get fans in the stands so that we can continue to do what we love -- play competitive roller derby. It might be also important to note that my league requires that we wear our team T-shirt and we are told to stick to our team colors but each skater has the freedom to wear what they choose as their 'boutfit." I find this liberating and support whatever my teammates have chosen to wear that night, no matter their shape or size as long as they give it their best on the track, I don't care. 

PS. Please don't give me troubles with grammar and spelling. I did this on my lunch break.

super matilda

about 11 years ago

Hell yeah, hanging at the Red Lion drinking Pabst...

emmadogs

about 11 years ago

Right on, KiLLah.  When I was growing up in the late 70s, girls just couldn't do sports, despite Title IX changes to school athletics.  Girls at school were offered softball for a couple of weeks in the summer, volleyball in high school only, and some gross laughfest for the boys called 'Powderpuff Football.'  Girls outside of school were offered...well, nothing, actually.  
I am so glad to see some kick ass, nonapologetic women,creating a new type of sexy feminist organization.  You are inspirational.

[email protected]

about 11 years ago

Is this THE KiLLah, as in Cletah?  Woot!

I'm honored to have your reply, and will share it (and the movie, emmadogs).

Don Ness

about 11 years ago

Laura and I went on Saturday and had a great time!  There is nothing fixed about these bouts - these women are athletes and when you pick up on the strategies involved, it's pretty compelling.  

I'm looking forward to the next home game.  If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and make it down there.

windwalker

about 11 years ago

It may be unscripted, but it seems awfully contrived.

Hot Shot

about 11 years ago

You've obviously never seen the bruises and broken bones these girls end up with.

JWar

about 11 years ago

It is about as contrived as a football game.  Just because full contact female sports are rare does not mean they are staged productions.

MELISSA

about 11 years ago

This is a real sport with real contact. It is not staged at all! It's fun for all and good times. If you don't know about it you should not make any judgements until you have experienced it in person with your own eyes or strap on a pair of skates and come to one of the practices and see how staged you feel it is afterward!

zra

about 11 years ago

Just like Jerry Lawler breaking a reporter's arm for trying to say that wrestling is fake, I dare anyone to pull the same stunt with one of the roller dames.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

I always preferred David Schultz vs. John Stossel.

BACON

about 11 years ago

Just want to address the comments/concerns about derby being "fake or contrived."  If it were either of those things, derby bouts wouldn't require the amount of refs and non-skating officials as they do. Example: Hockey has 1 to 3 officials skating in a game. The minimum requirement for derby is 3. We had 6 skating for this past bout and would have appreciated two more.

I understand it's not everyone's "cup of tea" but don't speak about something until you actually experience it. 

Read the rules and you'll see how complicated this game really is. And we're always looking for more refs if you want to get involved.

[email protected]

about 11 years ago

I can't help but wonder if there isn't a gender dimension to the very fact that we are going back and forth on whether it's "real" or "contrived."  Would we have this kind of exchange about a more male-gendered sport?  Asking the question once is understandable, going back and forth, as if the earlier answers were somehow dishonest or something, seems odd.

zra

about 11 years ago

Thanks for the correction, Paul. Jerry Lawler was always in it with Andy Kauffman.

EvilJeffy

about 11 years ago

I actually greatly enjoy derby, even if I am not allowed to play.  And if you think it is fake I would love to see you explain why in the last six months I have been present for two people breaking legs?

It should be noted I referee a lot of derby and neither of these cases were anyone from the Duluth team.

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