CARLSBAD — On Saturday The North County Derby Alliance routed the Inland Empire Derby Divas in a sport that’s not quite underground, but oftentimes under the radar: Roller Derby.
Equal parts speed, dexterity, strategy and combat, Roller Derby is a sport that is quickly gaining traction all across the U.S.
The Spring Roll bout took place at Carlsbad’s Army Navy Academy, where there’s a rink dedicated to the sport. It’s also where the NCDA meets for their twice-weekly practices and scrimmages.
Teams are comprised of three positions: pivots, blockers, and jammers. Points are awarded when jammers are able to pass opposing team members.
The North County Derby Alliance won the Spring Roll bout by more than 100 points.
With teams all over the world, more than 13 in California alone, roller derby is one of the biggest little sports you can find.
“This is all run by word-of-mouth,” said Spunky BruiseHer, one of the skaters who preferred to go by her derby name. “Everyone seems to have someone they know who is involved — an aunt, a cousin, or a friend.”
Permeating everything, however, is a layer of intimacy and friendly competition only found in small-time sports.
“One of the great things,” explained Motor Mouth, who also preferred to be identified by her derby moniker. “Is that you can go on vacation and bring your skates. Wherever you go, there’s always a team. You can drop in on a practice session, and they always love it.” Motor Mouth is the CEO of the board of directors for the team. For her, it’s a legacy business. She has both a daughter, and a granddaughter, on the team.
Another element to the fun is that skaters adopt pseudonyms for the sport. These monikers, often pun-based and always clever, provide a sort-of ‘tough-guy feminism’ that helps complete the picture. Think more “Pro Wrestling” than “Exotic Dancing.” To wit: The Derby Alliance includes a “Stinkerbell,” a “Sweet Cyanide,” and of course, “Spunky BruiseHer.”
NCDA is always recruiting for the team, and recently formed a junior league for younger skaters. The next NCDA home bout is coming up June 24, versus South Coast Derby.