Thursday, April 22, 2010

Men's Derby

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending three roller derby bouts. On Saturday I traveled to Old Bethpage, Long Island to see a double header: the Long Island Roller Rebels (LIRR) vs. Pioneer Valley's Western Mass Destruction, which followed a game of men's derby featuring the New York Shock Exchange (NYSE) based out of NYC vs. Pioneer's Valley's The Dirty Dozen, based out of Northampton, MA This was my first time seeing men's derby. Today I will be blogging about that, and later this week I'll write about LIRR v. PVRD and the amazing bout I saw on Sunday. 

I am not sure how many men's teams there are in the United Sates, but the eastern US is lucky to have a solid and growing base of men's derby. In fact, the NYSE and the Dirty Dozen are among the top men's teams in the country. Other local teams of note are the Connecticut Death Quads and the up-and-coming Albany Men's Roller Derby team! 

But for now, my initial impressions: When I first pondered the idea of men's derby, I imagined (with great gender bias, obviously) football on rollerskates. I thought the men would be knocking each other out left and right with little regard for safety (their own or others!) I probably could not have been more wrong. Men's derby leagues, at least the ones I am aware of, play by the same set of rules as women's teams (generally WFTDA 4.0). Instead of going (pardon the phrase) balls out, they played a very strategical game. In comparison to women's derby I have seen, I observed that the men played in somewhat of a tighter formation, and in order for their jammer to get through the pack of blockers, they really had to bounce their way through every time; it was somewhat like watching a pinball machine. I just remembered that alloveralbany had a post about men's derby recently. The article quotes a skater, Musekn├╝ckle, saying, 
"if women's roller derby is like NASCAR, then men's derby is more like demolition derby". 
I would interpret this to mean that women's roller derby is fast-paced, has a sizable fan base, and the skaters have the endurance it takes to skate through an entire game and come out victoriously. Men's derby :: demolition derby could mean that they might look like a motley crew, but underneath their rusty outer shell is some fine engine work that can power through the nastiest machines on the track. Anyone else want to weigh in on that? (If you disagree, remember, I've only seen one game, but I can't wait to see more!)

By the way, Albany Men's Roller Derby has a recruiting event coming up. Join them at Rollarama in Schenectady at 4:30pm on May 2nd. Check them out on facebook for more information. I promise I will write more about men's derby after I am able to do some more research on it (including my thoughts in response to this comment).

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