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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Full-contact’ sports gets feminine touch

When someone refers to, “hot girl-on-girl action,” they are not usually referring to a roller derby. But thanks to a group of rough-and-tumble women, now they can.

Women from all different walks of life are playing key roles in the revival of the Roller Derby, and Ohio is no different. The Ohio Roller Girls are looking forward to their upcoming season which starts in April.

The Ohio Roller Girls was actually the brain child of Melissa “Scarlett Fury” Wallace, who had done some research on the Texas Rollergirls who have held derbies for the past five years.

“I started doing some research and decided roller derby was something Columbus needed,” Wallace said. “I had no idea how to start a team up, so I contacted some of the Texas Rollergirls and joined an online group to get more info, and the rest is history. I can definitely say that starting this here in Columbus has been the best experience of my life.”

This sparked the interest of Lisa “Missfire” Carter, who had a friend who was in the Windy City Roller Girls and became really facinated with the derby. The two women teamed up to change the way Ohio thought about roller skating forever.

“[Wallace] was trying to get something together and I met her in April of last year,” Carter said. “She rounded up five people to start a team. Scarlett and I did all of the business stuff, and we just got it rolling.”

The league has now grown to more than 60 women-totaling four teams-who practice religiously every Tuesday for two hours in order to gear up for the season, which starts April 23.

The season starts with six games of what is called an, “Exhibition Bout” and leads to the “Championship Bout.”

There is a bout each month and they are held on Sundays at the Greater Columbus Convention Center at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $15 at the door.

A bout consists of two games total, both usually lasting about 10 to 15 minutes, and then a half time show, which usually consists of a band playing. Half time is followed up by a second match of two different teams.

Five women from each team can be on an oval track at the same time. Four women, eight women total, are called “blockers,” and line up together at the start point on the track.

Twenty feet behind them, there are two “jammers”—one from each team.

The jammers score points for their own team by busting through the pack, which is a massive huddle of the eight blockers.

The jammer who successfully manipulates the pack first is dubbed, “lead jammer,” and has the power to call off the game.

Every lap around the track gives the jammers time to score and they score according to how much physical contact that have with the other team.

Due to the aggressive nature and highly competitive spirit of this game, injuries are very frequent.

“We all get hurt, but that’s normal,” Carter said. “We all have bruises and we’ve had people break legs and ankles. It comes with the territory and you can’t be afraid to get hurt. It’s just part of the term ‘full-contact,'” Carter said.

Full contact in roller derby is something that many spectators look forward to, especially since the roller derby realm has had some added public relations help with a new popular reality show.

The Texas Roller Girls, who Wallace credited for the inspiration to start her own league, landed a deal with the A’E channel for a pilot show called “Rollergirls” which airs on Mondays at 10 p.m.

“The show is not entirely accurate; even the game is not the same,” Carter said. “They play big track and we play flat track and the rules aren’t even the same. The show is definitely for drama and it is sensationalized.”

Even though the show has catapulted roller derby into a new stream of American society, the sport is a lot older than it might seem, according to Carter.

“Roller derby actually started in Chicago in the 1930s,” Carter said. “The owner of one of the teams noticed how people got excited when the players made contact with each other, so he developed a game based off of racing and added contact to it. It’s [roller derby] been phasing in and out every other decade.”

The Ohio Roller Girls invite anyone who is interest to come try the sport out. The only pre-requisite for joining is being at least 21 and having valid insurance, for obvious reasons.

More information on the league can be found at the group’s Web site, www.ohiorollergirls.com.

Even though roller derby isn’t necessarily for everyone, Carter insisted that the roller girl trait is something you either have or don’t have.

“You either feel like you are or you aren’t a roller girl,” she said. “You just have this feeling when you hear it like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s me!”

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