Last weekend I went to go see the London Rollergirls Season 3 Championship playoffs in Earls Court. Apart from having seen Whip-It (hello, lady-crush Kristen Wiig), I knew next to nothing about Rollerderby before Saturday (and chances are, you won’t either – so full rules and explanations can be found here) – but basicallly, there are 5 people from each team on the track at one time – 4 blockers and 1 jammer. The aim is for the jammer to lap the others as many times as possible, and they score points every time they pass someone of the opposite team.
These girls are fierce. As demonstrated by their awesome warpaint and fiery glares (and downright amazing nicknames – Katy Peril and Vagablonde, anyone?). As one who can barely stay upright in flat shoes, I was completely in awe of their expertise on eight wheels, travelling at high speeds in tight circles whilst dodging (or deliberately bashing into) the other nine girls on the track. The atmosphere was electric. And despite not knowing anything about the sport – and therefore not having a team to support, we got so into the games. Cheering and jeering with the rest of them, with a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” as the hotpant-clad ladies took another knock, faceplanting with style, or whizzing past the opposition, jumping over legs and wayward skates to stay on track.
We watched two games – the playoff for 3rd place between the SuffraJets and the Ultraviolent Femmes, and then the Championship Bout between the Steam Rollers and the Harbour Grudges. Tense games, both. And my favourite part was the lap of glory at the end, when the audience lept up out of their seats to form a circle as the winning team skated around the middle giving high fives to their supporters. More sports should do this! High fives at Wimbledon!
I apologise for the poor quality of the photos, but these girls move FAST, so it was very tricky to get a shot which wasn’t of an empty track as the players had flown past my view point before I had a chance to press the button.
The final scores are below:
3rd Place: Suffra Jets 106 – 90 Ultraviolent Femmes
Championship Bout: Steam Rollers 124 – 91 Harbour Grudges
The next bout is in August, I fully recommend checking it out. Makes a change from football.