Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

[friday]

July 12, 2013

Live the story: My experience as a roller derby girl

Kokomo — “Hi Lindsay, my name is Andrea McKown, aka 5-ft. Assassin. I hear you might be joining us for [City of Fists roller derby] practice. That would be awesome!!!! We’ll be gentle! It’s going to be a blast!”

When someone who answers to the name, 5-ft. Assasin, tells you via text: “We’ll be gentle!” you take the message with a bit of caution. Therefore, I needed to pad every single joint in my body for practice with The City of Fists roller girls Monday night.

“These may have ‘derby stink’ on them. I’m the mom of Menzy Mayhem by the way,” Edema Monsoon told me as she helped me strap into that said padding, which included: wrist guards, elbow guards, knee pads, a mouth guard and a helmet. Monsoon, like the others, answers the “name question” with her derby name; making my reporter pad a colorful illustration of roller derby’s name culture.

Real names are checked at the door of Kokomo Skate World, where the team practices two nights a week, and the combative-yet-clever names take hold. There is no Emily, no Carmie, no Jessica; instead, there is: Scorpio Pathic, Carmen Slam Diego and JessPasst Jurass.

Inside the walls of Kokomo Skate World, the disco balls aren’t spinning, a few overhead fluorescent lights flicker in place of pulsing strobe lights and the typical skate rink tunes – hello, Boyz II Men, -- are swapped for a different sound: Competition, to say it simply.

“In! Out! In! Out!” is yelled as the roller girls stealthily weave in and out of a line, eyeing their next spot, through a drill.

“Move! Move! Move!” is screamed as two jammers fight their way from the back of the pack to the front during a two-minute jam, which is how points are scored. A certain number of two-minute jams (similar to periods in hockey) make up a bout (similar to a hockey match). Another similarity to hockey?  There’s a penalty box, and it’s used. This sport isn’t for those concerned about breaking nails and black and blue is often the best-accessorized color for The City of Fists gals.

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