Carolina Rollergirls in NYTimes/AP: Sport is growing, but can they afford to play?

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Three Carolina Rollergirls were photographed for an Indy fashion feature in June 2008. Abbey Dethlefs, quoted in the AP story, is in the middle. (Photo by D.L. Anderson)
  • Three Carolina Rollergirls were photographed for an Indy fashion feature in June 2008. Abbey Dethlefs, quoted in the AP story, is in the middle. (Photo by D.L. Anderson)

Bob Geary attended the Eastern Regionals of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association last weekend at Dorton Arena. He filed this report.

An unnamed AP correspondent also attended and filed this report, which just appeared on the NY Times Web site. It says that in spite of the sport's burgeoning popularity (the Drew Barrymore movie Whip It! opens Oct. 2!), the economy has made it difficult for many skaters—who are all amateurs—to continue.

Here's the lede:

There are some pretty horrific images in the Carolina Rollergirls' online injury archive: The purple-black bruise on Kristi Kreme's thigh; the nasty case of "rink rash" on Shirley Temper's backside; the X-ray of the shattered shoulder -- and cobalt chrome implant -- that ended Harlot O'Scara's roller derby career.

Unlike her provocatively-nicknamed fellow competitors, Kelly Clocks'em has managed to skate by with just a few bruises and the odd skinned knee. In her nearly three years around the oval, the feisty 5-foot-2 skater -- real name, Abbey Dethlefs -- has taken down some pretty tough opponents, but there's one that proved too much for her.

The recession.

"The economy is tougher," Dethlefs, 28, said after skating in last week's Wicked Wheels of the East tournament, her last derby event for the foreseeable future. ''I mean, it put me out of business."

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