Roller derby's Texas-sized comeback.

Dispatches from the dark corners of sports.
May 13 2004 2:24 PM

Lone Star Skate

Roller derby makes a Texas-sized comeback.

(Continued from Page 1)

The last notable roller-derby launch, 1998's TNN show RollerJam, met a familiar fate. According to this history of roller derby, RollerJam "hired a number of nationally ranked speed skaters and instead of taking advantage of this wealth of talent, they highlighted actors and non-talented, overweight skaters to perpetuate a pre-fabricated storyline. RollerJam became a spectacle of bad taste." After two years, it folded.

The Austin roller derby has no shortage of self-conscious zaniness: An endless parade of costumed characters, from the greaser, to the geisha, to a purple-clad pimp, stalk the sidelines all match long. And if you give women named "Kitty Kitty Bang Bang" and "Vendetta Von Dutch" mouth guards and elbow pads, a catfight is sure to follow. Several times a match, play deteriorates into a theatrical battle royal. Just before the end of the first period, two Honeys pancake a Hustler. When all three tumble to the ground, a Hustler races in at full speed and lands a flying body check on one of the supine blockers. It's a major cheap shot. The benches clear. The fans in front of me leap to their feet, jeering. I'm left scrambling for a better view.

Felix Gillette is a reporter for the Columbia Journalism Review's CJR Daily.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.