June 17, 2008

Roller Derby in Ithaca

Filed under: sports — origamifreak @ 11:06 pm
Tags: ,

Noel has done a fine job of describing the event, complete with action photographs.

I have only a few observations to add:

Somehow I’d expected a rougher, motorcycling, NASCAR-type crowd, but it was a generic cross-section of Ithaca, leaning toward the liberal intellectual. Perhaps this is because of the description I’d read in an inflight magazine a few months ago which described a punk atmosphere. Or, perhaps I’m still remembering the aesthetic that was attached to the sport back in the ’70s.

We got there about half an hour late because we thought it started at 7, not 6pm. Noel said it was a lot more crowded this time than last time. It was hard to find a place to put a folding chair – there were a lot of people standing, so if you sat you couldn’t see.

By the time we got there the score was Ithaca 67, Utica 6. That’s not a typo. There are three 20-minute bouts, and we were halfway through the first. By the beginning of the third bout the score was something like 87 to 40, and two-thirds of the crowd had left.

I was pretty quickly able to follow the basics – whenever the person with a star on her helmet got through the pack, her team scored. What was harder to follow was the setup toward that point, and where the fouls were occurring that sent people to the time-out boxes.

There weren’t any injuries until the very last second of the last bout, when the Ithaca jammer (the one with a star on her helmet) somehow tripped either over herself or the other jammer or something (it happened fast). She went on her back, holding her leg in the air, and her ankle was bending and dangling in a very strange way, like almost 90 degrees sideways.

Strangely, no-one seemed to be concerned about it at first. My reaction was, “geez, that doesn’t look right. I mean, ankles just aren’t supposed to bend that way. Are they?! Maybe she’s just really, really, really flexible? No, that can’t be right. Now she’s pointing at it. Why doesn’t the announcer say something? Why isn’t anyone calling the EMTs sitting in their ambulance, just outside? That really doesn’t look right.”

Eventually they did call the EMTs, and they took off her skates, put her ankle in a soft cast and wheeled her out of the building. (She survived in good spirits, if not entirely intact.)

The final score was Ithaca 00, Utica 43. (Ithaca had so many points they’d passed the limit of the scoreboard, which was 199 – they actually had 204.)

More information about the SufferJets here, or here or here.

There’s even an international registry for rollergirl names so they’ll all be unique.


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