The bout between the Angel City Derby Girls’ Hollywood Scarlets and the Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ Boardwalk Bombshells was a nail-biter until the end, despite of the Scarlets’ whopping lead.
Linda Pena, a fan who attends every home bout with her son Ethan, smiled and said to me, “You do the same thing I do – hold your hands up in front of your mouth.”
“I know, it’s so intense,” I said. “I can’t believe it’s this intense even though the Scarlets are so far ahead.”
What made this bout so intense was the same thing that makes these athletes so admirable. They kept their team spirit alive whether they were on top or clawing their way up from underneath. Throughout the bout, the Scarlets didn’t let their lead go to their heads. They kept hammering away. They had to. They knew they were up against a formidable foe. The Bombshells would not give up and their spirit was never broken. Had the Scarlets rested on their laurels, it was possible the Bombshells would rip them to shreds.
The Bombshell’s Maiden Hades #5150 and Inflict Her Pain #29 were a dynamic duo to be reckoned with. The intimidating pair would block the Scarlets’ jammers face to face, skating backwards to do so. They may have been the opposing team, but they earned the audience’s respect by their sheer determination and commitment to the bitter end, in spite of the 157 – 60 lead the Scarlets had managed.
The bout drove home what makes roller derby unique from most other team sports. Not because it’s good-looking girls in cute shorts and fishnet stockings (rather standard “bout-fit” attire) on roller skates, engaged in a contact sport. Nor is it the opportunity to vicariously release one’s super hero alter-ego, as they do by donning their roller derby names. Displaying virtues such as fairness, self-control, courage and persistence and respect for both authority and opponents. The derby girls’ Hollywood Scarlets and the Boardwalk Bombshells proved that playing with principles is not just admirable, but intense.
The derby girls next bout will be Saturday, Sept. 17. Doors open at 7 p.m. for an 8 p.m. bout at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City. Tickets are $14. For more information, go to AngelCityDerbyGirls.com.