Derby Dames rock!

According to Hot Legs Hoologan, a member of the Atlanta Rollergirls, this is the attraction of women's roller derby: "It's one of the few opportunities for women to be physically aggressive and test themselves against other women in a way besides just competing over looks or guys." For us guys, it's one of the few opportunities we have to watch women on wheels knock each other down! (See video at left.)

On November 14, about 20 Charlottesville women answered the call, showing up at the Charlottesville Armory on Avon Street Extended to learn the rules of roller derby and get physical at the Charlottesville Derby Dames' first practice. According to Derby Dames organizer Anna Perron, the practice went better than expected. In fact, another is scheduled for November 28, and there will be one every Wednesday, 7-10pm (except for the day after Christmas), until the end of the year.

"It was great. Skaters from the River City Rollergirls (see video) came from Richmond to show us a few things, and a lot of people are making plans for the next practice," says Perron.

Apparently, roller derby has made a comeback in recent years, and leagues across the country have been popping up. In addition to the Derby Dames, founded in February, Virginia has at least six established leagues, including the Dominion Derby Girls (Tidewater), the River City Rollergirls and Richmond Derby Demons (Richmond), Star City Rollergirls (Roanoke), and DC Rollergirls (Washington, DC).

Since the old banked tracks are hard to come by and maintain, most "jams" are held on flat tracks, and instead of the staged fights of yesteryear (Æ?  la WWF), the new game is more like hockey, with girls slamming into each other for the lead and refs keeping things fair. Still, Perron says flashy outfits and a rock n' roll style are encouraged, as are names like "Pistol in Pantyhose" and "Pretty Skate Machine."

All women over 19 are welcome, says Perron. They should just bring skates, pads, and helmets to the Charlottesville Armory, 1640 Avon Street Ext., on Wednesday at 7pm. Info at or at Medical insurance is strongly recommended.