by Bob Geary
Your Carolina Rollergirls kick off their 2010 season in Raleigh Sunday with a 12 noon bout between the Tai Chi-tahs and the Trauma Queens. Doors open at 11:30. Get there early, folks, capacity at the Skate Ranch, "where it all began" back in '04, is limited to the first 500 arrivals. Adult tix $8; under 12, $5; under 6, free. For directions to the Skate Ranch, check the Rollergirls' website.
The Rollergirls are looking to return to the nationals of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association this year after getting knocked out in the regional tournament in '09 -- unfortunate since the regionals were held for the first time, and very successfully, at Dorton Arena in Raleigh.
"If everybody will give it their all," says Lady Smackbeth, a team spokesperson, "we can definitely get there." And win? "It's sports. Anybody can win any game at any time." And with a promising group of newcomers joining a strong cast of returning veterans, the '10 Rollergirls aren't just anybody.
Tomorrow's bout is the first of three upcoming Skate Ranch sessions for the Rollergirls' intra-team squads as they break in a promising rookie crop gleaned from the January tryouts. Sunday, February 28 will see the Debutante Brawlers tangle with the Tai Chi-tahs. On March 28, also a Sunday, it will be the Brawlers against the Trauma Queens.
The Rollergirls start their season against out-0f-town competition in March with a pair of away matches. On March 6, the Carolina Bootleggers -- the R'girls' B-team -- will take on a Charlotte team in Charlotte. Charlotte is not up to the Rollergirls' level as yet.
Then March 20, the real season begins as the Rollergirls All-Stars -- the A-team -- travels to Boston to renew the rivalry with the Boston Massacre, the team that upset them at the Eastern Regionals in Raleigh last fall. That loss cost the Rollergirls a chance to advance to the '09 nationals of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, so revenge would be sweet.
On March 21, the Rollergirls will take on a Rhode Island team in Providence.
This is the Rollergirls' seventh season, and the growth in the sport here has been terrific to see. That growth was reflected at tryouts in January when some 15 newcomers were added to the team, including a couple of former figure (ice) skaters who looked like they can help immediately and some up-and-coming roller skaters who've mastered the basics and are now ready to learn what it takes to play derby. "It's a very impressive group," in the opinion of Lady Smackbeth. "We're always excited to grow the sport and grow the league."