‘Breaking hearts and body parts’

By Vica Kazantseva

The Bellingham Roller Betties came with a swing as crowds of families and other fellow Bellinghamsters packed the stands to watch the local roller derby teams play. Their first bout of season 9 took place at Whatcom in the Pavilion as they have in the past, with 5 more following. Each bout is a double-header with four teams competing each time.

A roller derby ‘bout’ is played between two teams 20 on each, with five players in a lineup at once on a track. There is one pivot, three blockers and a jammer.

For those who don’t know what roller derby is, it’s predominantly a Women’s sport in which two teams on roller-skates make their way around a track counterclockwise, meanwhile making it possible for their “jammer” to pass the opposing team on the track. “Jammers score 1 point for each blocker they pass from the opposite team. That equals up to four points. If they manage to also pass the other jammer, it gives them a 5th point if that jammer has been held in the pack. Each team plays 2x 30 minute halves,” said Jasmine StaRomana a.k.a Helena “Beat’em” Harder.

Points can only be scored as the jammer makes his/her second round around the track scoring one point after every blocker that he/she passes. ‘Blockers’ make it hard for them to get past the other players. They are allowed to hit their opponents with their shoulders, torso and hips. It is illegal to use the forearms, hands and head and elbows are regulated. A lot of slips and falls happen which make the sport interesting to watch for people who like action.

Roller derby in the Pavilion. Photo by Vica Kazantseva.
Roller derby in the Pavilion. Photo by Vica Kazantseva.

“The Bellingham Roller Betties are a self-run derby league. We are a not-for-profit (not to be confused with a non-profit, we are NOT a 501c3) and donate our profits to a community partner that we vote for every year. This year Pass the Hat is our community partner,” said Cara Flora, member of the Bellingham Roller Betties.

At Saturday’s bout, four teams were competing. The three teams that came from the Bellingham Roller Betties were F.L.A.S.H, Tough Love, Cog Blockers and Public Frenemy, that is not a part of the Bellingham Roller Betties. Their travel team is Blunt Force Trauma. They also have a pool of skaters called the Grit Pit. All home teams play against each other and at this bout, The Cog Blockers beat Tough Love at 236 to 125. “All home teams play against each other and visiting teams in Bellingham. We always have a double header at home, the first bout is a home team that plays a travel team, the 2nd bout is two home teams that play against each other and we have our own semi-finals and championships against each other at the end of the season. Our travel team plays for WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association), currently, as of February 2016, our travel team Blunt Force Trauma is ranked 124th out of 274 certified teams,” said Cara Flora, a.k.a “Slug life”.








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