[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Windy City Rollers brought their A-games once again to the UIC Pavilion for the first bouts of 2015.However, there is something to be mindful of when watching these ladies crash into each other….Women’s Empowerment.
That is what this modern age of roller derby is all about. The women behind this sport have so much passion for it, or else they wouldn’t be volunteering to do this.
“It’s a really fun game. It’s really fun to see some powerful women hitting each other and at the end of the day, we all love each other. It’s a powerful league led by women, and [it’s] all-volunteer,” according to Christian Mangle, skater for the Hell’s Belles.
Flo Rider, captain of The Fury, reiterates that point: “It’s great to show how strong a woman can be and how much stronger she can be when she works with a pack of women.”
In an era where the lean, uber-skinny, high-maintenance women are glorified on Hollywood red carpets, the Windy City Rollers and other roller derby girls are the antithesis of that image. They enforce the belief that women should love themselves no matter if they can grace the cover of “Cosmopolitan” or not.
“Fifty percent of the league doesn’t come from an athletic background, but it doesn’t impact your ability to be an awesome skater. It takes all body types to be good at this sport, not necessarily the lean-athletic types. It is very body empowering to women. You don’t have to be a ‘fit’ person to be awesome at the sport,” according to Zoe Trocious, a skater for the Manic Attackers.
Roller derby is a sport that showcases the true toughness of women. Even in women’s hockey, checking is still illegal; in roller derby, it’s encouraged. “It’s also pretty rare, because of the physicality of the sport, where women are naturally more inclined to be better than men,” stated Zoe Trocious.
While these women are tough and intimidating on the track, they’re easily approachable off the track and love to engage their fans. They encourage kids to come down to the track and high-five the skaters as they come out before the first bout. Also, the Windy City Rollers encourage fans to go to their after parties at the Union Lounge, two blocks north of the UIC, where you can meet the skaters in a more relaxed state.
The bouts last Saturday featured the Hell’s Belles going up against the Manic Attackers in an exciting matchup that went down to the wire and had several back and forth lead changes. In the end, the Hell’s Belles came out on top by edging the Manic Attackers by a point, winning 167-166.
“We let off the gas a little bit. We went into the half with the lead, but we realized this was going to be a much harder bout than we played against the Crossers. So we just played as hard as we could after halftime,” said Christian Mangle after the bout.
However, the Manic Attackers were not disappointed in their performance.
“I feel as though we won even though we lost. Our team had a 60-percent turnover from last year. We have a couple girls in which this was their first game, so I feel very proud that we did as well as we did,” according to Zoe Trocious.
In the second matchup of the night, the Fury dominated the Double Crossers, 251-121.
“We’ve been really focusing on the team aspect of our game. We’re helping our individual skills improve so the team as a whole can thrive. Our role was to support the person next to us, so our team can be really strong,” said Flo Rider.
The Windy City Rollers will return to the UIC Pavilion on Feb. 7. It will be their last regular season bout before the run to the Ivy Cup, the Windy City Rollers league championship.
While it may look like an intense sport from the outsider’s perspective, it’s more than that to the women involved.