I would like to announce, here and now, that I will be going down in scientific journals for discovering a new chemical compound; Awesomeonium Nitrate. Awesomnium nitrate is comprised of three elements that have just been added to a new section of the periodic table of elements. Awesomeonium Nitrate is made by mixing equal parts of the following.
Tattooed Chicks With Attitudes
Old School Roller Skates
Healthy Doses of Kick Ass
Fortunately for me Sacramento has a steady stockpile of Awesome in their very own Sacred City Derby Girls. But before we get into the hows and whys of Sacred City first let’s take a look at how Roller Derby came about.
Roller Derby, in it’s original incarnation was obviously the product of a cocaine fueled, James Caan movie marathon that culminated with a viewing of Rollerball and one coke fiend turning to the other with the saliant thought, “This fucking rules, but it would be so much better if it were hot chicks.” Which was quickly followed by a high five and a swift, yet decisive, “Fuck Yeah!”
With it’s over the top characters, pre-determined outcomes and vaudeville like theatrics, the 1970s heyday of derby had more in common with pro-wrestling than with the legitimate sport it’s striving to be today. Though a little bit of pro-wrestling does sneak in. Hell at the first bout I went to I saw a chick throw an elbow that would make the rock jealous. But don’t be fooled by the outfits or the stage names, these girls are working their asses off to bring legitimacy back to the sport.
I was introduced to the world of Sacramento Roller Derby by my friend Bri – better known to her team mates at Brat-Worst. Though I will admit that one of the derby names she was deciding between; Bri-Tard, was my favorite. After months of cajoling Brat-Worst managed to get me off my lazy ass and show up at to the Roller King in Roseville where the frenzy of the event far outweighed any of my expectations. I expected to see roughly twenty or thirty fans, comprised mostly of guilt tripped friends and family – like most of my comedy shows. What I got was two to three hundred people, young, old and everything in between, anxiously awaiting not only their hometown team but even their heroes. And I’ll admit it, I was impressed. So much so that I approached the teams board of directors in order to write this very article.
Following an approval process that involved a lot of awkward explanation of this site’s name – which believe me I’m used to – I showed up to practice on a chilly Thursday at the very same roller rink where I saw my first bout. The roller rink was a strangely foreign place that night. Tonight there would be no childlike atmosphere. No laser lights and cheesy eighties slow songs. Not a nauseatingly awkward couples skate to be found. Just grit and determination were present as I watched the Sacred City Derby Girls lace up their skates and tighten up their pads for another grueling night of practice. Make no mistake; though these girls wear rollerskates and suggestive outfits, the closest they are going to come to your idea of a roller girl is if they get into a fist fight with Heather Graham. Which any these roller girls would win with both arms tied behind their back. And blindfolded. What I’m trying to say is: Heather Graham, your whore ass days are numbered.
As practice started heating up I sat down with three of Sacred City’s vets; Vicious Token, Rosie Knuckles and Foxy Knoxy to discuss Derby, Sacred Citys community presence and what brought them all together for what is, according to the Sacramento News and Review, The Best Thing On Eight Wheels.
In the pantheon of women’s organized sports Roller Derby is the fight club of the group. All of these girls have regular lives, regular jobs and regular names. They’re mothers and sisters. College students and professionals. But once they lace up their skates they become entirely different people.
Vicious Token: For me, my derby name is who I become when I step out on the track. Who I am in my regular life is not who I am at derby, [and] I think that goes for alot of the girls here.
“Even if I could tell someone they had a good fight, I wouldn’t be talking to the same man. Who you were in fight club was not who you were in the rest of the world.”
But lacing up a pair of skates with these ladies isn’t as easy as walking into the arena and demanding a one on one fight. These girls go through months of intensive training. Training that I couldn’t complete even following two cycles of steroids and a wang enlargement surgery. And while it does pain me to add another group of girls to the list of chicks who could kick my ass; these girls have earned every stripe they’ve got.
Vicious Token: There’s months of drills. Learning how to slide on your equipment, learning how to take a fall so you don’t splay all over the track and take other people down with you. Endurance drills. Not to mention learning the rules and the strategy of the game.
Rosie Knuckles: The more inexperienced the person you’re skating against the more likely it is that someone’s gonna get hurt on the track.
Foxy Knoxy: Every heat is a flat out sprint. If you don’t have the endurance you’re gonna fall flat on your fucking face.
And as long as we’re discussing the subject of the rules and strategy of the game; here’s your color by numbers guide to the rules of Roller Derby.
“A guy came in to fight club his ass was a wad of cookie dough, after a few weeks, he was carved out of wood.”
The Sacred City Derby Girls let it all hang out on the track at each bout. The display of physicality is so impressive that I’d pit the SCD Girls against almost anyone in a fight.
(subliminal note. Kim if you throw yourself in front of a bus we’ll consider my birthday present bought and paid for)
According to The Derby Girls themselves: the action, roughneck tactics and hard-assery stay on the track.
Vicious Token: We leave it all on the track. The competition’s there and everyone wants to win but once we leave the track we’re all friends.
Foxy Knoxy: We’re all hard asses but once we leave the track we’re all friends. There’s something to be said for hitting a girl hard as hell and having her bring it right back at you and once it all said and done having a drink together.
But what takes place on the track is only half the story of the burgeoning legacy of the Sacred City Derby Girls. For every ounce of heart that they let bleed out on the track; they more than willingly share with the community of the greater Sacramento area.
Rosie Knuckles: We’re heavily involved in the community.
Vicious Token: We do Second Saturday (Sacramento’s monthly art and music festival downtown), Chalk it up (Sacramento’s sidewalk art festival to benefit children’s art eduation ) and we even do our event called Noise For Toys where we get a live show going with a bunch of bands and Derby Girls and we collect toys for under privileged kids.
That’s right; the tattooed, hard hitting, skate devils of Sacred City have hearts of gold and spend a lot of time giving back to the community that has made them what they are. The dichotomy that these girls represent – the balance between ass-kickery and altruism – would be like watching Godzilla handing out chocolates to orphans. Sure what you’re seeing is fucking awesome…it’s just not what you were expecting.
Saint Godzilla, patron saint of smashing towns, scaring the Japanese and finding lost socks.
But the real story here, outside of the jokes, and the poorly photoshopped images, is the story of women finding themselves and finding a sisterhood that they can believe in. For each of these women the sorority of being a derby girl has not only been a fun ride, but an avenue to self realization and means of – sort of , kind of – salvation. For each of these girls this team is more than a sum of it’s parts.
Vicious Token: I had a great professional life. I was really satisfied while I was at work but beyond that I didn’t have what I was looking for. When I joined derby all that shit changed.
Foxy Knoxy: I’d been involved in sports and been active all of my life and being involved in derby let’s me be physical and it’s like a sense of family.
Rosie Knuckles: I think for most of us it’s a like a family more than it is a team. When one of us is down; we’re all down. When we’re happy everybody is happy. We help each other out and take care of each other.
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen: Sacramento’s own Sacred City Derby Girls. A unique group of women that kick ass on wheels, party hard off the track and support the community that has made them an attraction. Each and every bout that these ladies put on is an all out fest of speed, guts and determination, but don’t think these shows are for adults only. Sacred city also prides themselves on putting together an event that is fun for all ages with a beer garden for the adults, the Jelly Belly man for the kids and of course the full force of badassical of the roller derby bout itself.
So make sure you get the hell out to their last bout of the year – which is this weekend – and get 150% of your daily supply of Awesomeonium Nitrate. And if, for some ungodly reason, you miss the last bout of the season. Then you damn sure better make it out to catch a face-full of radical at their next fundraiser. Because if it’s an accepted fact that derby is awesome; then derby chicks mud wrestling has to be holyshitthisisfuckingsupersweetomgwtfbbqcrap!