Local roller derby league kicks off 2011 season May 21

Chambana’s fastest-growing new sport, roller derby, returns to the track in 2011 with a Twin City Derby Girls (TCDG) doubleheader home opener on May 21. At 6 p.m., the ‘Paign will take on Bloomington’s McLean County Missfits, followed by a rematch between the Damagin’ Dames and 2010 league champion Boneyard Bombshells at 8 p.m.
This season, the league moves to a new, larger venue — the University of Illinois Ice Arena, which seats 1,200. And it’s a good thing, according to TCDG Board President Kelly Steelman-Allen, because the final game of the 2010 season, which was held at the 375-person-capacity Savoy Recreation Center, “was totally sold out in just 12 minutes.”
All five 2011 TCDG home bouts will be double-headers. Three home teams, the Damagin’ Dames, Boneyard Bombshells and the ‘Paign, along with a rookie team, the Vice Quads, will play a series of 10 bouts against each other and other leagues. Additionally, the all-star Twin City Travelers, comprised of skaters from all home teams, will play home and away bouts against other leagues in the region.
The ice arena is a dry venue, and TCDG bouts are family-friendly. In keeping with TCDG’s tradition of giving back to the community, a portion of the proceeds from the home opener will be donated to local charity the Up Center.
Roller derby games, which are called “bouts,” consist of two 30-minute periods with a brief halftime. The game is played in two-minute “jams” consisting of five skaters per team, four blockers and one “jammer.” Points are scored when the jammer passes members of the opposing team. Blockers may try to prevent the opposing team’s jammer from passing using a strictly-regulated series of legal blocks or “checks."
Roller derby, which first became popular in the 1930s, was revived nearly a decade ago on tracks across the country. Despite its reputation for being staged or fictitious, roller derby is in fact a legitimate sport that is physically demanding and highly regulated. It also has a bit of an edgy side: skaters frequently take on fictitious “derby names” like local skaters “Delta Badhand” and “Terror Misu” and sport funky accessories like fishnet stockings and colorful knee socks.
The new revival of roller derby is also played very differently from the old televised version. There are much tighter penalties for illegal contact, such as blocking with elbows, tripping and pushing from the back.
TCDG is among the fastest-growing leagues in the country; its membership skyrocketing from seven to more than 80 in its first year. The league holds practices in Champaign-Urbana several times per week and donates a portion of the proceeds it raises from bouts to local charities such as the Up Center, Catsnap and the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.
And Champaign-Urbana’s league is not alone — indeed, it is part of a massive derby revival happening around the world. According to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), there are currently more than 700 leagues in 25 countries around the world. This is an increase from 400 leagues in 11 countries just one year ago.
 
Twin City Derby Girls 2011 Season Information
May 21: Home Opener: ‘Paign vs. McLean County MissFits, Damagin’ Dames vs. Boneyard Bombshells
    • University of Illinois Ice Arena, 406 E. Armory Ave., Champaign (note: venue is dry)
    • Doors open at 5 p.m.
    • First bout begins at 6 p.m., second at 8 p.m
.    • Adults: $12
    • Groups of 10 or more: $10 each
    • Kids 10 and under: free
    • To purchase tickets, visit www.twincityderbygirls.com and follow the link. A limited supply may be available at the door.


June 4: ‘Paign vs. Damagin’ Dames; Boneyard Bombshells vs. Cedar Rapids Rollergirls
June 18: Twin City Travelers vs. Demolition City B-Team; second bout TBD
June 25: Twin City Travelers at Des Moines Derby Dames (Des Moines, Iowa)
July 9: Damagin’ Dames vs. Bash Valley Clobber Girls; 'Paign vs. Boneyard Bombshells
July 23:  Interleague Doublheader: Opponents TBD
August 6: TCDG championship game; Vice Quads vs. TBD
 

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