We have many different professional sports teams here in Augusta, GA. From Baseball to Hockey, High School Football to the Masters, there is one sport that is growing in popularity and it’s rather fascinating.
I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so when the Soul City Sirens, Augusta’s very own Roller Derby team asked me to come to one of their “Fresh Meat” practices, I couldn’t say no. Invited by Kristina “Pink Sox”, Vice President of the team, we set a date and time. That day was May 28, 2012. And I had NO clue what to expect.
Lacing up my skates for the firs time in a little over 15 years was a little intimidating. At one point in my life, I was an avid roller skater. My weekly hobby that I shared with childhood friends started petering out right around the advent of the in-line skate. The movie Prayer For The Roller Boys, a Corey Haim flick was debuting and everyone thought it was so futuristic. I moved on to working in theater at the time. I’m thinking that those skills could have come in handy once I skated out onto the track.
At this moment, I was given the rules of the sport while we were stretching and warming up:
There are several positions to be played on the flat track. Blockers, Pivot Blockers and Jammers. Up to 20 people per team and the goal is to have the Jammers break through the “Pack” (the blockers and pivot blockers) and then to lap everyone. If the Jammer on one team makes it all the way through and around before the other jammer, the points you score matches the number of people you pass. Simple enough, right? Well, that’s when things get a little brutal. Mind you, you’re on quad skates so there are some rules you must abide by:
No elbowing, hitting, punching, intentional falls, fighting, biting, strikes to the head, etc. Nudging is okay though and when you’re on skates, nudging turns into spills and hard slams to the ground.
Now that we have the rules out of the way, let’s talk about our team! The Sirens are, simply put, amazing. You can try out on their open registration nights (check their website or facebook for times, next one is July 30, 2012 at the Red Wing Rollerway) and once you get passed that, it’s on to Fresh Meat Mondays. It takes on average, around 6 months to up to as much as a year and a half to be trained and conditioned enough to join the ranks of the Sirens in your first bout! But let me tell you, the feeling of being on the flat track with these ladies is WELL worth it.
There’s a camaraderie in the fold, even with the players that are still in training. The night I practiced with them was “Mustache Monday’s” where everyone donned a fake mustache. TOUCHE ladies, I came prepared! After watching the ladies play a full scale scrimmage, I was called in like the stereotypical kid that gets picked last but just may have that triumphant “Rudy” moment.
Yeah… who am I kidding?
That 15 year hiatus from my days in Ormond Beach, Fl’s Starlight Skating showed once I was crowded around the flat track gladiators! After slipping, falling, scraping my elbow and bruising my backside, I realized that I should stick to my forte: Not Roller Derby. I think I’ll let the professionals handle it! Want to see how I did and get a taste of what the ladies have to offer the crowd? Check this video out:
You can find the Soul City Sirens playing about 5 home bouts and 5 away bouts a season. They play 10 months out of the year with 2 months for the off season. Thinking about joining up? Be prepared to devote a good 2 to 3 days at the gym on top of practices that consist of conditioning and endurance trials. Be sure to bring a mouth guard and leave the training up to the Sirens! No experience necessary It’s a fun, family atmosphere for the bouts and I highly encourage you all to come out and enjoy the team! If you ARE looking to join up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check them out at the Red Wing Rollerway on June 10th for their next bout!
Here’s all of their pertinent links:
Be sure to check in on Foursquare at the Rollerway too!