That’s right, it’s finally come to Northern Virginia: packs of women zooming around a track, throwing body checks on four-wheeled roller skates. The NoVa Roller Derby has its inaugural “bout” (their word) this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Dulles Sportsplex in Sterling. And you truly have to get there early, because they have already sold out their advance tickets and will only make 100 more available at the door.
Women’s roller derby has been gaining in popularity around the country, with leagues sprouting all over. Now this is not your father’s roller derby, which was sort of pro wrestling on wheels. (And why I thought people watched it.) There are no elbows to the face, no rail to go flying over, no chairs smashed over anyone’s head. The scripted theatrics are gone, including the inevitable last-second win by the home team. This is actual competition, the league’s founders say.
But it is full contact, bodies do go flying, and the skaters do have cool names. The captain of the league’s “travel team,” called the Skate Troopers, is Debi Does Dulles (now that’s your father’s, uh, roller derby), joined by Calamity Pain, LoCo Lunatic, Mel on Wheels, Blonde Fury and Loudoun Dirty.
The fun potential already seems high. Team captain and co-founder Debi D.D. (alias Cynthia Cashwell) said there are flat track roller derby leagues in D.C., Baltimore, Manassas, Stafford County, all up and down the east coast. The NoVa Roller Derby already has 30 skaters with more coming, and also has a goal of raising money for worthy causes. This month, the charity is the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter, and the league wants spectators to bring 5-ounce cans of Play-Doh, which are used by young children at the shelter, Cashwell said.
So the Skate Troopers will be taking on a team from the despised Free State Roller Derby in Rockville, the Black-Eyed Suzies, in the Battle of the Beltway. They hope to add men’s and co-ed divisions, and there is a training session for prospective skaters on Oct. 9, the Backwoods Booty Camp (their words) at the Leesburg Armory. Sounds like roller derby is back, and no folding chairs will be harmed in the making of it this time.
Here’s a video explaining how roller derby works now: