Coast Report Covers Nov Bouton Nov 10 in Newspaper, OC Roller Girls, Web by OC Roller Girls
No place for a princess
Roller derby gets out aggression with plenty of strength and athleticism.
In the back of a large warehouse in Huntington Beach, the smell of Icy Hot emerges as women in tights and short skirts, many donning arm tattoos, race around a track in their roller skates.
OC Rollergirls is a local roller derby league started in 2006 by Heather Shelton, also known as Disco Dervish, and follows the rules and regulations of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. According to the association’s website, flat track roller derby is a contact team sport that is fast-paced and requires both strategy and athleticism.
“Every woman should be powerful, not a princess,” Deborah Monterrosa, better known as Dirty Deborah Harry, said.
According to Monterrosa, a Long Beach resident and one of the training managers for the OC Rollergirls, the league is open to all women at every skill level.
“There’s a position for all different sizes,” Monterrosa said. “The oldest player is 58 and the youngest is 10.”
In fact, mothers and daughters are joining the league together. Atomic Betty and Motown enrolled their daughters, ElectroCute and Olivia, respectively, in the junior roller derby league which is open to girls ages 10 to 17.
“I pay [my granddaughter] $5 for every black and blue mark she gets,” Jerry Dlugacz said.
Dlugacz sat on the sidelines as he watched 13-year-old Lexi on the rink Thursday night. The mood changed however as the junior roller derby girls finished their practice and members of the Psycho Ex-Girlfriends and Crash Test Bunnies entered the rink.
The women who are part of the OC Rollergirls home teams have the highest skill levels in the league. The two teams are scheduled to have an upcoming bout Nov. 13.
According to the association, the best place to sit during a bout is in a so-called suicide seat located on the floor and closest to the track. The seats usually have a minimum age requirement to occupy.
Similar to high school team sports, there are three teams each with separate skill levels. While the highest level, similar to a varsity team, focuses more on strategy and exact hitting, the beginning teams focus on learning basic technical skills and rules of the games.
Wrecking Doll, a member of the Psycho Ex-Girlfriends, said she played intramural volleyball at the University of Arizona. However, after finishing college, she said it was difficult for her to find organized sports outside of school.
According to Monterossa, roller derby is one of the few team sports dominated by and uniquely for women.
“It’s really good therapy,” Monterossa said. “Rather than going out to get drinks, come to roller derby practice and work out your issues.”