After gaining popularity in the 1970’s, the rough and tumble sport of roller derby is making a comeback. Teams are popping up all over the country, including one here on the Peninsula. The Far North Derby team based in Kenai took to the track for their first organized bout.
After several months of organizing, practicing, practicing, organizing and a little more practicing, the women of the Far North Derby team made a strong showing in their first event Saturday in Kenai.
If you’re unfamiliar with Roller Derby, here’s the basic rundown: each team has five players, with one designated as the Jammer and the other four as blockers. The Jammer is the only one who can score points, and this is done by passing the opposing team’s players. Depending on the strategies put in play, it can be a fast-paced, high scoring affair.
On Saturday, skaters from Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley and beyond came for scrimmage and to give the home team a little experience.
There have been some significant changes in Derby since it’s original hey day a few decades ago. The game is now played on a flat track, rather than the raised, banked tracks that defined the early days. The names and characters taken by the players are still a big part of the sport, and most bouts have a specific theme. Each team bases its name for that bout based on that theme and on Saturday, it was Fight For Your Right To Derby, a play on words based on the classic Beastie Boys tune, Fight for your Right to Party. By halftime, the Monkees (as in Brass Monkey) led the Brooklyns (as in No Sleep Til) 62-61.
The teams continued to battle for lead in the second half with the Brooklyns, played by the Far North Derby home team, coming out on top, 140-126.
The Far North Derby team has practices open to anyone who wants to learn derby Tuesdays and Thursdays from seven to nine pm in their new permanent practice facility next door to Cook Inlet Trading Company on K-Beach Road.