The first great thing I have to say about the New York roller derby scene is this: the Gotham Girls want everyone to come to the party. The pre-party at a bar near the venue was touted on their website — an open invitation — and while I was still patting myself on the back for my uber-super-reporting skills at getting an invite to the after party, I saw the open invitation in the program. You gotta love a bunch of tough girls who want everyone to come and get drunk with them. But here’s the bad news: there’s a reason why you need a “pre” and a “post.” There are no alcoholic beverages served in the basement of Hunter College, and between the metal detectors (read: metal flasks) and the hand searches (read: sniffing water bottles) it’s nigh on impossible to smuggle in booze. And that, my pretties, is the only bad thing I can say about Saturday night’s bout between the Bronx Gridlock and the Queens of Pain.

I missed the pre-party. I was dragged to some other god-awful event (don’t ask) but showed up in time to hit the will-call — manned by Gotham Girls from the teams NOT bouting that night (read: more hot chicks) — and fight my way through security that makes the TSA look like actual security professionals rather than the $12-an-hour high school hall monitors that they are. The gymnasium is exactly as you would expect it would be, with steep wooden bleachers, tight together, which adds an additional spectator sport to the evening if you like watching cute girls in heels walk down dangerous steps. (I do.) And the place was packed. A dude in a gimp mask stalked the floor with a sign reading, “Cheer or else.” An initial whistle led to a one-by-one introduction of both teams. The Girls skated in a circle, and as each member was introduced she broke out of the pack and gave a little encouragement. This is also a writerly thrill, as everyone in roller derby has a delectable name. My favorites of the night: Bigitte Barhot, Speed McQueen, Beyonslay (BX); Bluebonnet Plague, Stevie Kicks (Qns). And then the countdown to the first period.

All right sports fans, here’s where J.D. comes clean. I fucking hate sports. I always figured, if you really want to sit around with a bunch of guys watching a bunch of guys run around in tight clothes and rub up against each other, you really ought to come the fuck out of the closet and fuck one of the guys sitting next to you in the ass and get it over with. The upshot of this is my initial confusion at the overwhelming spectacle of — finally — a sport consisting of hot girls in short shorts and fishnet stockings on ROLLER SKATES rubbing up against one another. I knew I should be somehow concerned with the actual game, but the first thing that hits you (or hit me, anyway), was the hotness factor. The players are cute…

the cheerleaders are cute…

even the girls selling T-shirts at intermission are cute.

Needless to say, I spent the entire first period trying to figure out what was going on whilst keeping my boner in check. My notes read like gibberish with saliva stains: “Suzty Hotrod, blonde, hot”; “Kandy Kakes, amazing ass” and so on. But between the handy rules sheet handed out at the bout and my penetrating eye, here’s the basics for the rest of y’all newbies:

Five skaters per team skate at a time (unless some get sent to the penalty box). The pack starts on the first whistle, while one skater from each team starts farther back, jumping off the line on the second whistle. These two are the “jammers,” the ones who can score points for their team. Each jammer has to skate through the entire pack once; then she scores points for every opposing skater she laps afterwards. The play — knows as the “jam” — can last a maximum of two minutes. The jam can be ended early by the lead jammer — the first of the two jammers to pass through the pack — by gesturing with her hands on her hips (this is really cute, especially the way Suzy Hotrod does it).

So let’s pick it up at the end of the first half and see if ol’ J.D. can channel his inner sportswriter.

Beatrix Salughter takes a nasty spill, and the medic is checking her out. The announcers decide to move prematurely into intermission — there are 8 seconds on the clock — while her status is reviewed. After intermission, there is 50/50 raffle where a Bronx fan wins $358 and fails to look excited about it. It is announced that Beatrix has been taken to the hospital with a separated shoulder. (This is a real sport, folks! Injuries and everything!) This means that the Bronx will have to continue with one less skater — and a key skater, at that.

The Bronx has it, 32 to 46. Queens captain Suzy Hotrod breaks through and smokes it, tapping her hips with the score 36 to 48. In the next jam, it’s Bonnie Thunders — small, quick, daring — versus Suzy Hotrod, but they’re both knocked out of bounds. In the next jam Queens Cheapskate — a stocky woman with a pace like a diesel train — breaks through the pack with two of her teammates in the penalty box. Despite the lack of blockers, she succeeds lap after lap, finally stopped short by the menacing — and beautiful — blocker’s ass of Kandy Kakes.

It’s now 43 to 56. (Jammers automatically score against opposing skaters in the penalty box.) Kakes gets sent to the box. Queens Scarlett Rage is first off the line, but licked by Bronx Brigitte Barhot, who ends the jam after bringing the score to 43-65.

It’s looking grim for the Queens of Pain.

Suzy Hotrod brings it up little by little, scoring four points, and so deft and exact in her skating you can almost feel her thighs rubbing together as she crosses those skates in the turns. She passes the jammer’s helmet to Cheapskate, who is truly a chugger, bringing the next jam to 57-65 with Bronx Luna Impact in the box. Then it’s Brigitte Barhot bringing the Bronx up to 69, and then Cheapskate, hiding behind a Bronx blocker, using centrifugal force to pull ahead on the turn, bringing the score to 63-71.

The crowd quite literally goes wild as Suzy Hotrod breaks through the pack, but she’s knocked out by Barhot. In the next jam, Cheapskate takes a hard fall trying to catch Luna Impact, but she gets back up and skates a marathon.

The score is 71-75. Can Queens pull it out?

Barhot vs. Hotrod: Hotrod is too late. Cheapskate vs. Luna: Kandy Kakes is in the box again, and Cheapskate earns it—the Queens crowd goes apeshit as she dusts the pack a second time, Luna falling down on her knees.

It’s 81-79. Queens is finally in the lead. Hotrod scores again over Barhot, but Cheapskate is stopped short when Bonnie Thunders comes out true to her name — this Girl is fucking quick as lightning. Bronx is back on top at 83-84.

Hotrod steps over her own fallen teammate trying to regain the lead, but the jam is over quick, and Donna Matrix is fouled out of the game. The announcers comment that this may be the first time such a thing has happened with the Gotham Girls. Donna smiles and waves from the box. (Donna’s bio: “I stole your girlfriend.”)

Queens of pain captain Suzy Hotrod

Queens of pain captain Suzy Hotrod

Tensions are high. The fans are on the edge of tearing each other’s limbs off. The Girls are tired, exhausted. You can see them sweating, panting, slowing down ever so slightly with every pass around the track.

It’s Cheapskate vs. Bonnie Thunders. Bonnie is completely insane — breaks out fresh as a daisy and leaves Cheapskate in the dust, dodging a blocker who biffs as if Bonnie tripped her with thumbtacks, calling the jam off early to keep Queens from scoring.

It’s 83-88. With just under 2 minutes to play — this could be the final jam — Suzy Hotrod takes a turn against Thunders. Total chaos, no score. 40 seconds to play. This really has come down to the last jam. Cheapskate is the first out, way out in front, unstoppable — Queens might pull this off—but Brigitte Barhot is right behind her. When it’s over, it was too little, too late. Bronx wins it, 86 to 90.

Wow. I felt like I needed to take my pants off and air them out. The adrenaline in the room was palpable. I cut downtown and doused a couple awful well whiskies before stopping by Manitoba’s for the after party, where I learned that Beatrix Salughter did not separate her shoulder, but broke her collarbone. She’ll be out 4-6 weeks. When Cheapskate heard the news, she lowered her eyes and said, “I didn’t mean to hit her so hard.” Don’t feel bad, sweety, it was a legal hit. I also learned that SheRAW put the “backless” back in “backless dress.” Looking hot, honey.

I was shitfaced, horny, and had to get out of there and make a booty call before I violated my journalistic integrity. Or somebody else’s integrity. Imagine my deflation when I found out the next day that I DID receive an invitation to the sex party my late-night hook-up and I wanted to check out, but the email came long after I’d left the house. It’s enough to make you want to get one of those iPhone thingies.

Don’t be a sucker, catch the Gotham Girls at the next bout, Manhattan Mayhem vs. Brooklyn Bombshells, September 12. Five bucks to anyone who makes out with a Gotham Girl before I do.

Kiss kiss,
JDX

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