It’s Roller Derby

By: Adam Roland and Photojournalist Eddie Green
By: Adam Roland and Photojournalist Eddie Green

3-19-07

Now to a sport that doesn't get much attention, but is regaining popularity in Bay County and around the country. It’s the first ever Roller Derby here in the northwest Florida.

With stage names that would get a wrestler’s attention, the skaters take to the rink. The sport is called Roller Derby. Players group up to form a pack and in game play two packs compete, each pack has five players and all of them are women playing on roller skates, traveling on an oval track and tying to score a point.

Tonight's match-up is between the Miracle Strippers and the Boondocks’ Sinners. This will be the ladies first contest before a paying crowd. There's little apprehension, the girls want to put on a good show for the fans, fans that for the most part have never seen a roller derby and aren't quite sure just what to expect.

The object of the derby is to advance your teams "Jammer" through their teams "blockers" to make a point for your team, all while speeding around this small oval track, on roller skates. This of course, leads to pushing, blocking, shoving and falling.

Like any sporting event, scoring is how you win the game. As for following your team and keeping up with the score, well, it’s not quite as easy as watching a baseball game. It's kind of hard to tell who's on first.

Watching a Roller Derby can be as exciting as the game it's self, especially if you elect to take floor seating, which is called suicide seating. It’s for the brave of heart, who like the action fast and in their face.

For their first time on the rink, with a yelling crowd, the women did just fine. No broken bones or crushed egos. Just a few bumps and bruises, and as for the fans, now they know how roller derby is played.

The Panama City Roller Derby goes on the road for the first time Saturday, March 24th. They're heading to Tallahassee for a match-up with the Rollergirls.


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