And now a special lil’ guest blog from loyal Mayfair patron and Slaughter Daughter, Sister Disaster
You know that saying “If I had a dime…”? Well here’s my version:
I am engaged in casual conversation with someone I am just getting to know, and as always it comes out that I play Roller Derby with the Rideau Valley Roller Girls here in Ottawa. Full Disclosure: I am extremely proud to be a part of my League, and I talk about it all the time! The response to this new information about me first causes the individual to exclaim: “There’s Roller Derby in Ottawa? They still do THAT?!?”. Followed by their personal connection with Roller Derby when they were a kid. Here it comes: If I had a dime for every time someone said…”I remember Skinny Minny Miller, she was awesome!”, I would have more than enough money to build a roller rink and open my own derby focused skate shop! Then I am asked the usual questions about contact and elbows and fighting and banked tracks…and my answer to that is, “Roller Derby sure has changed.”
A Brief History of Roller Derby:
Roller Derby was a depression era pass-time. It started as a marathon like race developed by Leo Seltzer in 1933. It was co-ed, had two teams, and participants wore Dominion Quad Roller Skaters while they whizzed around a banked track made of slate. Over the years personalities of the skaters were developed, team and skater rivalries grew, all becoming very theatrical. The game itself also changed during this time, becoming about points rather than a number of laps to be achieved, this brought on increased occurrences of penalties and fighting on the track. Joanie Weston, Ann Calvello, Gerry Murray, Midge “Toughie” Brasuhun, and of course Skinny Minnie Miller were just a few of the ‘Good’ and ‘Bad-Girls’ of Roller Derby. The last Roller Derby Game was held in 1973. Despite an attempt to revive it with RollerJam in the 1990’s, Roller Derby was no more…until it’s revival in 2000 by Bad Girl Good Woman (BGGW) Productions in Austin Texas. Thank Goodness for that! Over the last 10 years rules of play of developed, and we play on any flat surface we can find. Here in Canada we skate in hockey arenas that have the ice removed for the summer. We still have wonderful names: DDT, Semi Precious, Lady Shambles, Slavic Slayer. We love to wear fishnets, and shiny booty shorts. But we also wear knee pads, wrist guards, elbow pads, helmets and mouth guards as this is a hard hitting full contact sport. The only one developed for women. A place where we can be aggressive, flamboyant and most importantly: Athletes.
Kansas City Bomber was Hollywood’s stab at depicting Roller Derby at it’s height. This is for all those people out there who remember Skinny Minnie Miller! An inspirational story about a skater trying to make good…at least that’s what I think the story is about…I usually get distracted by Raquel Welch skating on a banked track without a helmet! An insurance nightmare, eek!
the Rideau Valley Roller Girls present Kansas City Bomber
at Sunday Night Geek Night – July 4th – 9pm