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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

SCREW BARBIE..I WANT TO BE A ROLLER DERBY GIRL - MariellaAnna Resident reporting...

A friend of mine suddenly and out of the blue announced that she was in the SLRA roller Derby team and did I want to come along and watch a match?  I searched my sketchy mental database to come up with any point of reference I might have had as to what she might possibly have been talking about. Here, let me just point out I’m English, most of us haven’t heard of roller derby much less know what it’s about and it’s for that possible reason I eventually came up with a mental picture of female ex-cons or women with excessive tattoos racing round a track on roller skates, trying to kill each other between chugging down cans of lager and chain smoking cheroots.

As I sat myself down on the bleachers prepared for an hour of boredom for the sake of my friend, it didn’t take me long to realise - in fact about 5 minutes that my misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth and as the hand of my watch hit the 6 min mark I was totally hooked, line and sinker. I’d never be the same again. I never wanted anything more than I did at that moment, my feet itched for rollerblades, I wanted to be in there with them, I wanted to be on that track so bad it felt roughly equitable with the sort of desire I feel after being denied chocolate for 3 days. I wanted it that bad..I wanted to be - A roller Derby girl!

This was the modern day circus Maximus..And it was obvious these women could teach Russell Crow a thing or two about gladiatorial skills, yet with glamorous, assertive kick ass style and grace. Women working together as part of a team, a sisterhood alongside the nudge and thrust of elbows barging..With style and grace. It was skate or be skated, it was being thrown to the Lions (well Lionesses’) and emerging triumphant, head held high, lipstick intact.

I decided to look into things further and approached MizDeMeanor Morpork the  SLRDA PR Manager  and  Co-Captain of the Psych0 Riot Bitches one of the premiere SLRDA teams.

Could you briefly describe the Roller Derby for anybody that wants to know more?

MIZ: --Roller Derby is predominantly a female sport where two teams of five girls on roller skates battle for points on the track with the aggression of hockey minus the padding.  In SL, Roller Derby is a fast paced hud based sport that allows for in world gaming at its best. 

What is it that you think makes Roller Derby such an exciting fun sport to participate in or watch? Is it as I suspect the camaraderie?

--Its definitely the camaraderie, but I think there’s the competitiveness. Its fashion, personality, beauty, strength and muscle.  Roller Derby has given a voice to generations of girls who've been choked down with societal pressures to conform to what it believes they are capable of.  Roller Derby exemplifies that as women we won’t be defined by the roles laid out for us. Its rebellion in its purest form. Screw Barbie...I want my daughter to be a roller derby girl! 

Would you say it was a glamorous or a gutsy sport?

MIZ: --I think it’s both.  It’s empowering in so many ways as well.  I think it would be hard to dispute the appeal of strong confident women in the sports arena.  It’s this confidence that makes it glamorous.  There’s a definite sex appeal to the mystique of a derby girl; beauty, brains, brawn and boobs!  Can it get any better??

Who designed and picked your uniform and your team name?

The Psych0 Riot Bitches uniform is a little racier this season although it retains the Riot Bitch blue and silver.  The uniforms were designed by Psych0 Starship, team owner and SLRDA founder.  He also picked the team name.

Is there a social side to the team?

MIZ: --Absolutely!  One of the best things about SLRDA is the sense of community that it fosters.  This is not only in teams but throughout SLRDA as a whole.  When we're not practicing you can usually find the derby girls hanging at any one of the clubs or stores that many of the SLRDA community own or work in.  It’s really one of the perks of being a derby girl, you not only get to play an amazing sport but you gain such a varied and unique tapestry of friends that become family.

Is there alot of inter-team rivalry? or are you all fairly good friends?

MIZ: --Well of course with competitive sports there are rivalries.  The 2011 Season Championship is a great example of inter-team rivalry.  The Undefeated  Psych0 Riot Bitches faced +DV8+ Dreadnoughts.  It was one of the most intense bouts of the season.   And in that moment there’s a against them mentality.  But once the dust clears we're all just extensions of the SLRDA family.  There will always be friendly banter and rivalry between teams but in the end we're all derby girls, there’s a real bond there.

What level of commitment is required on a regular basis?

MIZ: --Roller Derby in SL is a time commitment.  Most teams practice two to three times a week for two hours. It varies between teams and requirements for practice attendance is also handled by individual teams.  The important thing is, you get out of it what you put in.  Some girls are casual about their derby time, others like myself drank the punch and come back for more. 

What is your hope for the team this year?

MIZ: --Well first and foremost is to continue to build a solid team that exemplifies everything that’s good about Second Life Roller Derby.  The second would be to bring the championship trophy home to the Riot Bitches in 2012.  It was a tough defeat to DV8 for the 2011 Championship and we're resolved to bring the trophy home this year.

Are spectators welcome to come watch?

MIZ: Oh my god yes!  We love our fans.  They're as nutty as we are!  It’s amazing to see them out in the stands coming to see us.  And to see the different team fans with their signs and gesture.  We adore our fans, and as we continue to grow we look forward to introducing new fans to the sport.  SLRDA has a band new stadium which seats a lot more people.  It’s visually stunning and I think fans and players will be pleasantly surprised with the attention to detail.  And with the expansion into filming bouts and streaming SLRDA roller derby shows; spectators will have a plethora of outlets to get their SL Derby fix.

Briefly sell your team over anybody else’s!

--Hahaha, well as a co-captain of the Riot Bitches I would have to say you couldn’t pick a better team to join.  The Psych0 Riot Bitches has the advantage of being one of the larger teams which gives the advantage of stability.  Senior girls *derby buddy* newer recruits, helping them acclimate into not only the Bitches but also into derby itself.  This fosters a sense of community among the girls that keeps the Riot Bitches a tight group.  The Riot Bitches are also one of the original teams to start in SLRDA so the history there is also a big push.  But what I say to most people is, come out to a practice and sees what we're all about. I can tell you a million reasons why you should become a Bitch, but the proof is in the pudding.  Attend a practice and you'll see why.

 What's been your proudest moment?

--Proudest moment..hhmm..I think for me. It was when the Riot Bitches lost the 2011 Season Championship.  I know it sounds weird.  A loss as a proudest moment.  But there’s this moment when you line up against the rails and the winning team takes a lap.  We had never been in that position.  It’s easy to win as a team or as an individual, but it shows character and strength to lose as a team and stand side by side with nothing but pride for every member of your team.  When we lost, we lost as a team and that’s my proudest moment in SLRDA so far and I wouldn’t change a single thing about that moment.  not the loss, the technical issues.  Nothing.  Because we may have lost the battle, but in the end we won the war.  I’ll always be a Bitch and I’m really proud of that. 

13. Describe how roller derby has changed you and your SL life.

--Well SLRDA has definitely had a very therapeutic effect on me personally.   First, its strong women, with strong voices from all walks of life coming together to play one of the roughest sports there is.  As a female, it’s empowering to show the world what you're capable of.  And personally, SLRDA gives me the chance to do something that in RL I’m unable to because of illness.  Just the existence of SLRDA has made it possible for me to achieve a dream I’ve always had to be a derby girl.  Corny I know, but I’m grateful that I’ve been given the chance to play.  And if I’m outspoken about it, it’s just this love I have for everything about SLRDA.  One of the most empowering nights I’ve had in SLRDA was when these amazing women I skated turned out that some of them were in the same position i was.  I think it can be really healing to come to terms with that and find a community that’s there to support you on and off the track.  I’m indebted to SLRDA in so many ways.  It’s given me personally so much.  I’m proud to be part of all this.  SLRDA brings legitimacy to Second Life that I think people can be proud of.  We've had people join SL specifically to join SLRDA.  To me that’s just exemplifies what an important instrument Roller Derby in SL is and I’m excited to see how SLRDA will flourish and expand in the coming years. 

How can anybody wanting to join learn more?

MIZ: I’m glad you asked that, the easiest way to join a team is to join the SLRDA Roller Derby Group secondlife:///app/group/d26b4e86-f6b1-2a61-1f2c-c52eaa1118ad/about and ask in chat.  Or contact me, MizDeMeanor Morpork SLRDA Personal Relations Manager.  Or speak to any of SLRDA's team captains. 

In conclusion, I realised that perhaps Miz seemed to encapsulate for me, that roller derby is what women really are or want or should be. Perhaps the ultimate example of what we can be.   I could imagine Miz rolling round the rink, baby on one hip, machine gun in hand yet not an eyelash out of place. Tough, glamorous in control and assertive, but ultimately feminine, capable Goddess’s. Miz reminded me of Xena, Ripley and Dieta Von Tease, all rolled into one and very much a warrior princess and I found myself longing to stand up and shout ‘SCREW BARBIE, I WANT TO BE A ROLLER DERBY GIRL!”


  1. Yay for Derby! Awesome article. Hope to get a lot more people interested because of this.

  2. Count me in Mariella ! *opens a beer with her boobs*

  3. oOh my lord! what an amazing article. I even showed it to my mom! great job and WOOT SLRDA!!!
    Thank Mimi for all you put into this article. i love your writing, and not just because you said i was like Xena warrior
    much <3 and hip checks

  4. So sad. Get out of the house and play some REAL roller derby!

    1. I think whats sad is that you missed the bit about an illness that prevents me from doing exactly that. that being said, many of our roller derby girls are also RL roller derby girls as well. Thats also mentioned up there but as we can see retention is not your best skill. We still like you anyway though. Mostly because you wont remember what we say to begin with.

    2. Well said! Looks like the attention seeker needs to focus on being a retention seeker. lol

  5. What is sad "Anonymous" is judgmental people like you that would take the time to act like you're sad and then take a stab at people that enjoy the activities Second Life has to offer. Let people be happy in the way they choose to live their lives either in first or second life. Think about those with disabilities that prevent them from doing these activities in real life.I speak for them in this response.
    Being negative just for the random thrill or attention seeking in an anonymous way is a characteristic of someone that has nothing else better to do with their time. Why not go write a positive book about activities people can do, or volunteer your precious time and encourage others, rather than judge them? Perhaps it would give you a little more self confidence then sitting at your computer trying to look down upon others and how they want to spend there time. No one participating in virtual roller derby needs your sympathy. Thank you.

    Straight from the head of SL Enquirer, Lanai Jarrico :)

    1. Awe, thank you! your reply was kinder than mine. This article is one of my personal favorites. I cant say enough good things about SLRDA and all its done for the women (and men) who are part of the SLRDA family. Thank you so much for your support and the amazing article that was written about SLRDA. =)

    2. Your welcome you know my support will always be for the positive people in Second Life, in particularly my friends,SLE family and those that support what we do for the community. GO SLRDA! Kick some ass!

  6. I stumbled on this story and it's really touching. I discovered slrda a few months ago and it's changed my sl. There's no more warm or playful people than derby girls and derby fans.


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