Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Scarlet O'Snap on the D.C. Rollergirls

"I grew up in Baltimore. Every Saturday, I used to skate at the Putty Hill Skateland, where the Charm City Roller Girls started. When I was younger, I was really athletic and then, in college, I basically did absolutely nothing until I joined the derby four years ago. That was around the same time that the league got started. One of my good friends lives in Chicago, where I went to undergrad, and started the Windy City Rollers. She said, 'When D.C. gets a roller league, you need to join.' I finally saw something on Craigslist and joined the derby because I wanted a different social scene. I really stuck with it because I liked the athletic part.

"D.C. used to have a derby league called the Washington Jets, which was a co-ed, banked-track derby league in the 70's. I don't know what happened to them, but what we do is obviously very different. Our league started after the
Rollergirls TV series on A&E, but the whole movement began well before that. The Texas Roller Girls were really the first modern derby league. It was very theatrical and wrestling-like. Rather than a penalty box, they had a spank alley where you would get spanked. Now, it draws more athletic people who don't want an alter ego on the track or all the theatrics. I am the same on and off the track. I do have a derby name, Scarlet O'Snap, but I'm kind of over it now. I wanted something recognizable and sassy, and thought it was really funny four years ago when I picked it. 

"The thing that makes D.C. really different from other leagues is how transient of a city this is. It is hard to keep people on for more than one season. We have three home teams: Scare Force One, The Cherry Blossom Bombshells and the D.C. Demoncats. We did have a fourth team, the Secretaries of Hate, which we had to fold because we didn't have enough people. We are also known as a conservative league around the country because we're not all covered in tattoos, and we all have 9-5 jobs as lawyers and teachers, or work for non-profits. I don't think there's one person in this league who does not have a 9-5 career, whereas in other leagues, it's more the counterculture: bartenders and artists. But that is not what D.C. is like at all.

"I don't think a lot of people recognize how much of a time commitment this is. We practice four-to-five times a week. We have nine bouts a season, plus a championship. We also all have responsibilities off the track. We're all required to do stuff to support the league. It is very D.C.-ish that we have a highly structured board and everyone knows how to run non-profits. It's also a very D.C. thing that we have people who work from 9-6, have kids and do this, too. D.C. is actually a bit of an older league, with most people being in their late 20s and 30's. The league has no coaches and we are all self-taught. We run our own practices and have our own trainers. The refs are mostly people's boyfriends, husbands, or fans who want to get more involved. All of this creates a well-oiled machine of awesomeness!"

Read more about the D.C. Rollergirls here

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