Here’s the 411 from Justice Feelgood Marshall:
This Saturday the 21st, the all-stars from the Charm City Roller Girls flat-track roller derby league play a doubleheader against visiting teams from Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Action takes place at DuBurns Arena in Canton.
This is the fourth year for the Charm City league, which formed in 2005 and joined a grass-roots resurgence in an updated form of roller derby. The most strikingly visual difference from the old-style of derby is that the game is now played on a flat track rather than banked, but there’s an even more essential difference between the old style and the 21st century one. This is a fully non-scripted sport, with the pratfalls, clotheslines and fake fights of 70s derby replaced with a focus on team strategy and skill, played under a robust ruleset administered by highly trained referees.
While the game itself is serious business, the presentation still contains some elements of the showy old-style, with players and referees skating under tongue-in-cheek assumed names (Charm City features skaters named Duchess of Torque, Minnie Piledriver and Rosie the Rioter.) A Charm City bout isn’t quite like anything else out there — part sporting event, part circus, part party, but all fun.
With the new style comes serious national competition, and the girls from Baltimore have been representing Mobtown well. The Charm City all-stars are currently ranked #12 by Derby News Network out of nearly 300 active traveling teams in the nation, and play in the primary organizing body of the women’s sport, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. They advanced to the second round of last October’s WFTDA Eastern Regionals tournament, getting bounced by the eventual #2 team in the nation, Windy City (Chicago.)
This year, Charm City takes leagues from all over the nation in hopes of advancing to the 2009 WFTDA Nationals, which will be held in Philadelphia in November. This doubleheader will see Charm City battling two teams with whom they have some history — they sank Providence in a 131-62 rout last June, but Charm City’s B-team, Female Trouble, got rocked by Dutchland in August, 160-63.
Home skaters to watch this weekend include dynamic Joy Collision, nationally regarded as one of the best all-around players in the sport; the irrepressible crowd favorite jammer Flo Shizzle; positional-blocking standouts Holly Go Hardly and Frenzy Lohan; and fiery, punishing blockers Dolly Rocket and Coach Ballbricker.
Doors open at 6pm and the action kicks off with Charm City vs. Dutchland at 7pm; tickets are $10 general admission (kids under 12 $5, VIP $20) and are available at the door or online at www.charmcityrollergirls.com.