Friday, June 11, 2010

Dirt on their Skirts

This weekend Mr. T and I drove out to Cooperstown for Roller Derby Day in conjuction with the Cooperstown Hawkeyes.  I thought this would be something fun to do because Mr. T loves baseball and I love roller derby.  However, the game rained out so we got to spend the whole afternoon in the Baseball Hall of Fame. **Roller Derby Day has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 18**

One exhibit I found interesting was the one for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).  Check out this picture of one of the players.
Caption: Lois Florreich shows the hazards of sliding in a skirt.  
Chaperones like Dottie Green administered first aid at the games 
and watched over the women in the field.
WOW!  I had the EXACT same bruise on my thigh just a couple months ago.

Throughout the museum, there were little food-for-thought signs (probably for education field trip groups).  One said:
Into the 1960s, it was a social custom for most women to wear skirts or dresses at work.  On and off the field, the AAGPBL also adopted this practice for its players.  Look around this exhibit.  Do you see uniforms that are different from those worn by ballplayers today?  How difficult would it be to play in these clothes?
I think if you cut the sleeves off and shorten the hem of this bad-girl, it could definitely be worn as a derby uniform!  I will admit though, "dressing derby" doesn't always seem the most practical for playing any sport.  At practice I like to wear regular work-out style clothes.  Dressing up for bouts is fun - but it's also a matter of practicality.

I also checked out the AAGPBL's website.  They are serious about the charm school aspect.  Check out their manual here: AAGPBL Charm School Guide.
My favorite parts:
  • Eyeball excercies "to strengthen your eyes and add to their sparkle and allure";
  • Suggestion to "Arrange your hair neatly in a manner that will best retain its natural style despite vigorous play"; and
  • Discussion on etiquette.   Derby girls are bad ass, but we all know how to behave (deep down, somewhere).
 And here are their Rules of Conduct.  Of note:
  • "Smoking or drinking is not permissible in public places. Liquor drinking will not be permissible under any circumstances."
  • "Baseball uniform skirts shall not be shorter than six inches above the knee-cap."  (this seems pretty generous to me!)
One last part of the exhibit that I found interesting was this fact:
Caption: Concerned that baseball might lose its players to the armed services, chewing gum magnate and Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley created an all-women's league in 1943.  Over it's 12 year history, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League employed more than 600 women as professional ballplayers.
The AAGPBL promoted its players as ladies, provided them with make-up tips and sent them to charm school.  In their signature skirted uniforms, the women endured scraped and bruised legs.  Dressed like ladies, they played like pros.

"Promoted its players as ladies" is probably where roller derby and the AAGPBL start to no longer interesect.  But I suspect modern derby girls share a lot of the same experiences these female ballplayers did.  I bet they were secretly proud of their scrapes and bruises.


  1. Hey Marcie, remember me? It's Jill Breedlove :D.
    I saw your comment on Becca's blog. I have one too if u want to check it out ever - It's semi-private though, I never say my full name or where I live or have lived, etc.

    That's so cool you're into roller derby. Is it that that movie with the girl from Juno ? (can't think of the name).

  2. Ah this brings back memories of "A League of Their Own." I love that movie. Great connections and very interesting!

  3. hey im from the area but I defiantly would have loved to seen you guys playing, surprised coop still exists though