By day, they’re teachers, lawyers, designers and filmmakers. But when they skate, they go by names like Angela Slamsbury, Demonica Mars, Raggedy Animal and Pippi Strongsocking.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby is New York City’s all-female, skater-operated roller derby league. It is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer force of skaters and league members, with no salaried employees. The league makes revenue from ticket and merchandise sales, sponsorship contributions, and donations from supporters. Skaters do their own coaching and are all expected to work at bouts.
The league started in 2004 and is now comprised of over 60 skaters in their early 20s to late 40s playing on four home teams: Bronx Gridlock, Brooklyn Bombshells, Manhattan Mayhem, and Queens of Pain. The league’s all-star team, The Gotham Girls All-Stars, is a top ranked traveling team made up of skaters from each of the four home teams; they practice out of a warehouse in Astoria.
“Having this identity, playing with a strong group of women makes you so much more confident,” said Rookie jammer Kristin Campbell, who skates as Puss ‘N’ Glutes.
Queens of Pain played Brooklyn Bombshells to a sold out crowd of nearly 1,000 fans at Hunter College on July 10. Queens of Pain’s mascot, the masked, leather-clad Gimp, and five ‘Jeerleaders’ dressed in dominatrix gear led the crowd in chants and cheers for the Queens team, who won 129-96.
As roller derby is an aggressive contact sport, helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, kneepads and mouth guards are required for skating. Two medics, who go by Ace Bondage and Andy Biotic, are present at every bout.
“We’re always really bruised up and sore after a bout. We’re taught to take hits well,” said Sandra Fredricksen, a.k.a Stevie Kicks.
Bouts are televised on NYC Life Channel 25 and at www.ggrd-nyclife.com.
Queens of Pain’s next bout is August 7 against Bronx Gridlock at Hunter College. For more information, check out www.gothamgirlsrollerderby.com.