So who knew San Jose had its own Roller Derby teams?
We knew, but we forgot. So when I met Ana Z from the Silicon Valley Roller Girls I could not wait to attend a bout.
I took my 17 year old daughter and three of her friends to the June 13th bout with San Jose’s Dot.Kamikazes against the Santa Cruz All-Stars. These two teams seem to have quite a rivalry, and both the derby girls and the audience were looking forward to the match up. We arrived 30 minutes early to San Jose Skate and found the parking lot full! There was still plenty of parking over at the business park next door though. Being new to the whole Roller Derby scene there was quite a lot to take in when we first entered the doors. Everyone was wearing black and green (team colors), there were green hair and wigs, tattoos, and some of the most amazing and interesting people you could imagine.
On the floor of the rink were folding chairs lined up around a taped off skating circle, so our group took seats about four rows back. Premium ticket holders got to sit in comfy couches, but the folding chairs had just as good of a view. While we could see just fine, next time we plan to get there earlier so we can be in the front row. This row does carry a warning in the program though: “Front row is SUICIDE SEATING due to crashing rollergirls. Sit at your own risk please!” While waiting for the bout to begin there were raffle tickets to buy, Roller Derby goodies to purchase, and lots of pizza and nachos and snacks to eat.
The bout began with a helmet and pad check of the girls, then an explanation of rules and demonstration of roller derby. This was really helpful to us newbies, and allowed us to enjoy our experience fully. The basic rule you need to know is the “Jammer” (girl with a star on her helmet) from each team scores points by breaking ahead of the pack to pass the other players. One point for every player passed, including anyone in the “naughty box”. As for the rest of the players, no “unladylike behavior” is allowed. It’s not the knock-down drag-out fight you see in the movies – but don’t think it’s without excitement! Although fighting, and blocking by hands, elbows and head are not allowed, plenty of other pushing IS allowed and the crowd cheered loudest whenever anyone fell (or was pushed) down.
This particular bout was very exciting. The teams were super psyched to face off with each other and you could tell by the play. However, it was the SV Roller Girls, our home team, who took the early lead and never let it go! Final score was 131-100 and it was exciting to the very end.
Multiple raffle prizes were called throughout the bout, everything from skateboards to tattoos. Pizza, nachos, and soda were enjoyed along with all the excitement, and we even had Tasty Hoops hula hoopers for halftime entertainment. All the Derby Girls are awesome, and had great derby names. Everything from Booty Vicious to Juicy K. Tore to Smashleigh to The Undie Taker, the girls go by pseudonames and they don’t ever depart from them. Mistits was a fan favorite, but my personal fave player and Jammer was Smashleigh. I definitely recommend that you find a way to get to a bout and enjoy all the juicy Derby goodness these girls have to offer.
Missed the bout? The next official home bout won’t be until August 8th, but NO WORRIES!! Because today is a FREE Roller Derby Exhibition bout at Roosevelt Hockey Rink, 901 E Santa Clara Street, San Jose. Action starts at 5pm! I recommend you get there early, and then make plans for the August 8th bout as soon as you get home!
Silicon Valley Roller Girls
Calendar and maps
Nocklebeast’s derby photos
Special thank you to Nocklebeast (from the Santa Cruz side!) for the use of his derby photos – you need a very fast shutter speed to catch these girls in motion! Click on the link to see lots more excitement!