Pile O’ Bones Derby Club impresses

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Big smiles after a close and intense rookie match/Kristina Wilson

Big smiles after a close and intense rookie match/Kristina Wilson

Roller derby, more then meets the eye

Combine Rage Against the Machine blaring in the background of the Callie, creative nicknames, full contact action and what do you get? It’s roller derby, of course.

Pile O’ Bones Derby Club held a bout on July 12 that included rookie play along with a male versus female game. The league and the sport in general are growing in popularity and Pile O’ Bones is trying to tap into the sport’s growing popularity by getting more people to the games, and into the game.

The game seems like a mess to the untrained eye, but once told the purpose and some of the rules, one immediately sees the amount of strategy, effort, and training that go into playing derby.

The rookie games are meant to get people’s skills up to par with people along their skill level, rather then throwing rookies in with more competitive players. Rookies are people who recently passed benchmarks (or as it’s called, “fresh meat,” so a form of boot-camp, essentially) and have played under ten games.

Loonie Bin, a rookie who just finished fresh meat, was about to play her first game. She explained that fresh meat is about safety and derby’s fundamentals. Also, she explained what inspired her to start playing the sport.

“I watched a few games, and I remember watching, this sounds so cheesy, but the movie Whip It, and I thought that those girls are so bad-ass, so much fun, that I thought I gotta give it a whirl.”

Although she said she was nervous for her first game, she also seemed amped up. The game, for an on-looker, seems quite punishing physically and may seem intimidating for someone interested in getting started. Although it’s not for the faint of heart, there are many safety protocols to go through.

“There’s an understanding, or something that you have to have within your soul, to do derby,” Loonie Bin explained. “That being said, and just having come through fresh meat, we spend the first two hours of practice just learning how to get up and fall down properly. So there’s a huge safety aspect of it, and there’s a lot of technique, there’s lots of things to learn, there’s lots of things that look like they hurt, but the biggest running thing is ‘pick-a-cheek,’ so when you fall, you don’t want to fall on your tailbone; you want to fall on one cheek. It’s going to hurt less to fall on one cheek that it is on the center of your tailbone.” In terms of safety, besides picking a cheek, before the game, refs even check every players’ equipment, something I’ve never seen before in any sport.

Loonie Bin had one last message for those contemplating joining.

“If you are thinking about joining roller derby, do it! Just do it, take a plunge, and find a girlfriend who also wants to do it, and just come out and try!”

The game is fast, the hits are hard, and the atmosphere is great. Make sure to show up for Pile O’ Bones’ next bouts at the Callie Curling Club on August 9, 23, and the final bout of the year on Sept. 6.

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