Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thrills and Spills at Dead Girl Roller Derby

In this episode, the Nerd clan spent a great evening watching the Dead Girl Derby "Love Hurts" competition at Hale Arena in Kansas City. Now in its fourth season, this is the second league for Kansas City. The Roller Warriors moved from the concrete of Hale Arena to a wood floor at Municipal Auditorium. We like the speed and chaos of concrete and being able to sit within a few feet of the ring. Besides, Hannah's best friend has a step-mom skating under the moniker "Venus Envy" for the Deadly Sirens.

Semi-controlled chaos. The girl with the star on her helmet is a Jammer. The striped helmet indicates the Pivot. The rest of the players are blockers. The goal is for a designated Jammer to get up front and start scoring some points.
Lead Jammer Heaven. This Jammer is pacing ahead of the pack. When she catches up later, the chaos begins again as lapping leads to more points.
This is a flat concrete track with plenty of speed and potential for gravitational harm. We love the seats right by the track!  You might notice from the angle I shot from that we were within ten feet of the outside line. It also happens to be the spot where someone taking a bad line or getting pushed out will coming skidding or flying. Claire and I were hit by and out-of-control skater within five minutes and had a few near misses through the evening. This is so unlike the last time I went to a Nascar race and watched cars from a quarter mile away. They just go around, and around and around... meh.

Being able to feel the breeze and get little shots of adrenaline makes for great entertainment!

Blocking in action. Some players take up a lot of space.


Yep, that's a legal block. Dead Girl Derby isn't for sissies! That's Dir-T-Diana in the red helmet.

Lots going on in this image. You can see the Shotgun Sheilas in black forming a defensive wall while the Jammer gets a push towards an open hole on the inside.

Getting a little tight out there!

This happens a lot.

Coming around the outside...it's an unusual player that can take up that much space at speed.

The action is fast with at least four refs watching. The Lead Jammer is indicated by pointing with the other arm up.

Breaking out at the start of a jam.
Unfortunately, accidents happen. Spills are common, but teams focus on bringing up players and teaching them to fall on the pads. It appears this girl blew out her knee. Like in soccer and skiing, ACL injuries can and do happen.
While the Dead Girl Derby is arranged in teams, the players all practice together and participate in "Zombie" or "Throwback" bouts where they are assigned to random sides. While playing teams, they fight to win, but it is one big family. The sportsmanship is one of the main reasons we enjoy derby so much.
Another spill.

Someone is about to get a little taste of the defense.


The Jammer on the inside is in kind of a tight spot.

Number 19 in this shot is the Lead Jammer. She just used a sign to declare the Jam complete. Everything then resets at the start line.

Victory!

Again, one happy (and bruised) family!
For the curious, I shot the evening with a Sony NEX-6 and 55-210mm lens on manual mode at 125th second and F6.3. This is a slow lens, but decent performance at ISO 3600 makes a big difference. I turned off face recognition as it was over-riding manual settings and adjusting the exposure, badly. Sony's optical stabilization works very well.

With a deep depth-of-field, it is hard to isolate individuals. Just for fun, I shot in the "Toy Camera" mode and like the results.

P.S. I've hit a record for the number of hits on a single post on the same day. Thanks for visiting! Dead Girl Derby is new to us so I did a quick search and tagged on some links for your viewing pleasure:

The Kansas City derby scene is thriving as seen at http://kcderbydigest.com/ 

Google images turned up an injury recuperation post. Derby is a sport and these are tough athletes:
http://www.cookingonskates.com/2011/12/healing-journey.html

Copyright Notice: These image and words are my intellectual property and are not to used, distributed or repurposed without my express permission. Yeah, such a drag. I shoot for fun, but my stories are mine. Feel free to link here or share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or the social mixer of your choosing and share the love.


6 comments:

  1. I thought roller derby ended with the 70s until a few years ago. One of our radio club leaders was an official and his wife was on the local derby team. They moved about a year ago but Palm Coast Roller Derby is still living.

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  2. Really fun to see this! My niece was a Roller Derby gal for awhile, until an injury ended her playing days. We caught a couple of her bouts. Her nom de plume: Boom Boom Von Doom. (I told her if I had played, my derby name would have been "Cry Scraper" as I'm 6' 4".)

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  3. My wife skated for fun for a while with a team called the Northside Rollerbabes, but this looks like a whole new level!

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  4. Bill: It appears that in our area the sport was in remission until the KC Roller Warriors were founded in 2004. We're glad derby is thriving in our area.

    Ledeaux: Love the names! I hope the injury wasn't too horrible.

    Richard: Hitting hard and suffering seems to be the local operating system along with lots of training and strategy.

    Tessa: Thanks for stopping by! I hope the Hale Arena home is great for the crew.

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  5. This is a fantastic piece that really captures the heart and soul of Derby. Good job by you!

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