In 3-inch heels, a bustier and cufflinks, Plastic Patrick takes care of the play by play. Smack Daddy sends Miss Tea Maven to the floor in a backwards shove. But Suzy Hotrod breaks through the scrimmage and wins the day for the New York City Gotham Girls. The audience of thousands goes wild. Arch rival team New Skids on the Block have to wait another year to vie for the world championship.
Welcome to roller derby.With its roots equal parts in Raquel Welch’s long hair and the never-say-never punk riot grrrl scene of the 80s and early 90s, roller derby is the bad girl of sports. Literally. Starring members such as Iron Wench, Mange Moi El Cul, and Apocalipstik, Montreal’s New Skids on the Block is considered the best team in Canada.
With a full roster of home and away games – against teams like the Connecticut Death Quads, Les Contrabandistas, and Les Filles du Roi – the team is nonetheless completely amateur in the true sense of the word. As in dirt poor. Perfect for the Olympics. Ya think?
Toronto filmmakers Maya Gallus and Justine Pimlott’s documentary Derby Crazy Love goes straight to to the heart of the emerging roller derby phenomenon, a vibrant and fun expression of feminist physicality that has expanded to over 100 leagues in Canada and 1,400 worldwide.“Your body is the puck. Your body is the target… and if you look the wrong way, someone’s going to smoke you,” says Smack Daddy, of Montreal’s New Skids.
The fastest-growing women’s sport in the world is not for sissies. But it is a sisterhood.
First posted in Rover, November 2013.