Davis welcomed an exciting, but little known, event to town on Saturday, September 30. That night, the Sac City Rollers held a scrimmage match at the Davis Indoor Sports Center.
Located just down the street from Sudwerk’s Brewery and Restaurant and Davis Waste Management, DISC is best known for its hockey rink and open skating. But for Saturday night, the place became roller derby central as fans and players gathered for the Black and White Scrimmage. And no, this has nothing to do with skin color. It was simply the black shirt team versus the white shirt team.
The event was free but a $5 donation was appreciated. It was fun and different, easily beating out going to a movie any day. From parents with kids to hard-core punks, the event created a unique atmosphere. Adding to this uniqueness were the roller girls themselves.
No two players looked the same. The players only had the basic color scheme of a black shirt for the black team and a white shirt for the white team in common. That’s as far as any similarities went, for some girls wore short-sleeved shirts and others wore white tank tops, all sporting different logos and graphics.
Variations continued with the rest of the uniforms as well, which included mini-skirts, knee high socks, fishnet stockings, and tattoos. And, of course, no player was complete without a roller derby name. The back of shirts read with names like Loco Coco, Sweet Cheeks, Hell-Louise and Nikki Nightmare.
The night began with the girls warming up to rock greats like Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and AC/DC. Spectators grew anxious for the scrimmage to start as the girls circled the track.
After warming up, the players exited the rink only to re-enter as their derby names and numbers were read off. Once all the players had been introduced, Lois Brunk, head of the Sac City Rollers and a derby player herself, went over the list of rules, with the players demonstrating each one. They playfully threw mock punches at each other and tackled one another and pretended to fight.
But when the scrimmage began, game faces where on. The crowd went wild as the starting whistle blew.
A live band, The Pets, took to the rink after the first bout. Composed of Derek Fieth and Allison Jones, The Pets played a mixture of alternative and punk rock. With just two guitars and synthesizers, The Pets put on a pretty cool show, even though the sound system at DISC was less than stellar.
The derby players also took part in the half-time festivities. In a roller derby version of American Gladiators, two players on skates tried to knock each other out of a circle with the help of a long PVC pipe covered in foam and duct tape.
The second half was a bit more brutal than the first. Players seemed to let loose with checking and shoving, but almost always stayed within the rules. Only one or two women were sent to the makeshift penalty box.
The Pets played a second show at the end of the scrimmage too. The players left the rink only to return with pink bunny ears and a large circle of pink felt strategically pinned to their backsides. It was all a bit confused at first, the players looking like women from the Playboy mansion, but it turned out that it was all part of a game.
Selected spectators, armed with waffle balls covered in Velcro, spread out along the inner circle of the rink while the players skated around them. Those who landed a toss won free merchandise as well as a RockStar. Even if you didn’t participate, it was still pretty fun to watch.
At a table located on the rink floor, spectators could also buy t-shirts, tanks, and women’s underwear with the Sac City Rollers logo proudly displayed on the front. Also selling merchandise on the rink floor was The Pets.
Between the merchandise table and the table for The Pets, Sweet Cheeks, known as Amanda Hill by day, handed out information about the league and took names for a mailing list.
New to the sport of roller derby, Cheeks is the head of recruitment for the Sac City Rollers. She started playing roller derby only six months ago, without ever having skated before. After three months of coaxing by a co-worker who played, she finally caved and gave it a shot. Cheeks hasn’t looked back since.
A common misconception about roller derby is that it is just a group of girls beating the crap out of each other on skates. But it is, in fact, a real sport, complete with positions, rules and a system of scoring. Though roller derby is a high contact sport, the women displayed extremely good sportsmanship Saturday night.
Though a score was kept, it really didn’t matter. The players came with both a white and black shirt so they could switch teams at half-time.