Odd Ball: Weird NYC Sports
by Jonathan Zeller, 01/02/2013
Photo: Manish Gosalia
Gotham Girls Roller Derby
What is it? Two all-female teams of five skate around a flat, elliptical track, each led by a "jammer," who scores points by lapping as many opponents as possible. The other players, known as "blockers," work to protect their own jammer and prevent the opposing jammer from progressing around the track. The event features spirit-boosting "jeerleaders," and skaters boast amusing pseudonyms like Angela Slamsbury, Speed McQueen and Anne Phetamean. The season runs from March through October.
Why should you go? "Buster Cheatin'," a former referee who is the current president of Gotham Girls Roller Derby and coaches their champion all-star team, mentions two major selling points. First, it's "one of very few full-contact all-female sports." And these women hit hard. Second, New York City's roller derby is the best anywhere. "Our [opponent] at nationals this year was really a conglomeration of all-stars from all around the country that had gotten together to form kind of a superteam with the sole mission of taking down our New York City Gotham Girls team," he says. "And we wound up winning."