“If your child is scared easily by loud noise, a roller derby bout may not be a good place to be.” So says the Naptown Roller Girls, Indy’s own team of aliased ladies, now in their second season and a part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). But despite the disclaimer (or perhaps because of it), an average of 2,000 fans have been showing up to cheer on the team of local female athletes with a shared passion for skating.
“We have a variety of women on the team: firefighters, teachers, parents, college students, all different ends of the spectrum,” says rookie skater “Shadi Layne,” herself a mother of three.
That may be true, but when they come together they seem to circle the hardwood track as one collective body, a body that happens to be decked out in cut-off jean skirts and black, fish-netted, skull and crossbones pantyhose.
“We’ve cried and bled and all that together, so we’re like sisters out here,” said “Strawberry Jam,” one of the team’s founding members.
And bled they have. Last year the team suffered such injuries as a broken ankle, several broken tailbones, a broken wrist and shoulder and, oh yeah, a torn ACL. In fact, during their first match this season, one of the women on the opposing team was knocked out cold and left the bout with a possible concussion. While those are all things the team hopes to avoid, they simultaneously accept that injury in this sport is pretty much a given.
The Roller Girls started their season in December with a crushing victory over Michigan’s Kamikaze Danger Dames with a score of 164 to 24. And while a win is a win, the Roller Girls prefer a bit more evenly matched competition.
“I really dislike runaway games like that,” said “Touretta Lynn,” a second-year team member. “I worry the fans will get bored, and we usually start playing a little more lazily, which isn’t good.”
The next bout will be on Feb. 9 against Cleveland’s Burning River Roller Girls and is sure to be a much more heated competition. This will be the team’s first bout against Cleveland and word on the street is that they’re a team of talented skaters. “The close bouts are the most stressful, but the payoff is far greater when we pull out a win,” Touretta Lynn said.
The Naptown Roller Girls league was recently accepted into the WFTDA, the national governing body for women’s amateur flat-track roller derby in the U.S. The Burning River Roller Girls are the first WFTDA team the Naptown Roller Girls will go up against on their home track.
Another team member, “Blazin’ Ace,” probably summed up the team’s overall feeling the best: “I think we’re just ready to get some stiffer competition and to see what we’re made of.”
What: Naptown Roller Girls: Shove ’Em and Leave ’Em
Who: The Naptown Roller Girls’ Tornado Sirens against Cleveland’s Burning River Roller Girls
Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds, Toyota Exposition Hall, 1202 E. 38th St.
When: Feb. 9; doors open at 6 p.m.; bout begins at 7 p.m.
Tickets: Tickets cost $15 per person at the door. Advance tickets are also available at Indy CD & Vinyl, Strange Brew (Greenwood) and Southland Skating rink for $10.
Info: www.naptownrollergirls.com, www.myspace.com/naptownrollergirls.