Home > Pillow Fight League, Roller Derby, Sports > The New Female Athletes

The New Female Athletes

I went to my first roller derby match back in May.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I remember watching roller derby on tv when I was a kid.  It was particularly violent, but fake violent like WWE wrestling.

The 4 teams in the Toronto Roller Derby league are Chicks AhoyGore Gore Rollergirls, Death Track Dolls and Smoke City Betties.  They also have a travelling all-star team called CN Power.  Their tagline is: Real Women. Real Hits. Real Heart.

My first game of the Toronto Roller Derby League was the Chicks Ahoy vs. the Gore Gore Rollergirls at the George Bell arena.  The first thing I noticed is that they weren’t going to be skating on a raised platform like the one on tv.  The track was marked on the ground with what looked like an extension cord covered with black electrical tape.  I later learned that this type of roller derby is called “Flat Track.”

The Chicks Ahoy came out, all wearing neon green outfits and white sailor hats.  The Gore Gore Rollergirls were all wearing something leopard print.  They all had interesting names, like “Blammo,” “Dust Bunny,” “Dolly Destructo” and “Desmond Deck-her.”  I think that half of the fun is picking an interesting name.

They have an announcer named “Crankypants” who gives play-by-play commentary and tries to get the crowd riled up. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed that we were asked to stand and sing “Oh Canada” before the match started.

This is not old-school roller derby.  These women are athletes.  Roller derby is a sport.  The objective is to score the most points and win, not to pummel each other into submission.  Well maybe they do want to pummel each other into submission, but it seems that most of the players are friendly with each other so I doubt they want to intentionally injure each other.

I fell in love with the game after watching my first match.  After that I went to as many games as possible.  I even considered going to one 3 days after I had surgery in July, and was very disappointed when I realized it would be an impossible feat.  I followed the team when they moved to The Hangar at Downsview Park.  I loved tem even more when they put together two all-queer teams for a special Pride Week match (the Vagine Regime vs. the Clamdiggers.)

My only complaint is how popular it had become since the movie “Whip It” was released.  Now it’s almost impossible to get a seat unless you show up 2 hours before game time!

At one of the games some girls came to do the half-time show.  They were from the Pillow Fight League.  What they do it kind of like wrestling, but with pillows, kind of like a glorified pillow fight.  It’s not what you might think though, it’s not exploitative of women, it’s not sexy, they’re not wearing bikinis or anything like that.  It’s not what you would expect based on the name of the league.  These women are also athletes.

I went to my first ever Pillow Fight League card this past weekend.  I have to say it was pretty amazing.  They too have amusing names like “Olivia Neutron-Bomb,” “Apocalypstick” and “PhDemon.”

They picked 2 women out of the crowd for an amateur match.  Both of them were out of breath after one 2-minute round.  That’s what I mean when I say that these women are athletes.  Great athletes.  And I loved it all the more when the Commissioner proclaimed the Pillow Fight League to be gay-friendly.

I considered trying out for roller derby.  I don’t know how to roller skate, which apparently isn’t a problem as they can teach you how.  I would love to be a part of the fun and camaraderie these women seem to have.  I just worry about injuries.  If I break my leg or dislocate my shoulder I wouldn’t be able to go to work, and that would be not so good, money wise.

And the pillow fighting, I would love to try that too.  Maybe if/when they get some more women of different sizes.  I have a good 100 pounds on most of the ladies, I would hate to squash them into the ground!

Roller Derby.  Pillow Fight League.  Real athletes. I love them.

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  1. December 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Hey there,

    Glad to hear you had fun at our show this weekend! We work hard to be taken seriously and it’s nice when someone notices 🙂

    I would like to encourage you to try out; we’re more than welcoming to all different sizes. The fighters in the PFL are real women and real women come in all sizes.

    • December 7, 2009 at 2:59 pm

      Hey Apocalipstick,

      You guys are great, I had an awesome time on Saturday night! I am very excited for the next card. I will seriously consider trying out. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. December 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    I would like to second what Lipstick said, and reinforce that it is no barrier to trying out for the PFL that you may be larger than the girls on the current roster. What girls look like is not a consideration in our tryout process.

    Come give it a try one night. We don’t bite 🙂

    No, wait, we do bite…but in a good way.

    You can email pfltryouts@gmail.com for more info 🙂

    Thanks so much for coming to check out the show, and for spreading the word. We all are truly grateful for your support.

    • December 9, 2009 at 10:03 am

      I can’t wait to see your title match in January, good luck!

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