Excellent Chicago Tribune article on Windy City Rollers
Posted by Justice Feelgood Marshall on September 28, 2007
Hey, you know how major media outlets consistently write boilerplate pieces about the wacky new fad of roller derby? About how it’s not your mother’s roller derby? Devoting 600 words to puns and fishnets but only about 50 to, you know, actual gameplay?
Finally, the Chicago Tribune shows what a *real* feature story about a roller derby team looks like — accurate, insightful, and compelling. Granted, it hits some of the regular introductory items, but the meat of the article, which covers the Windy City upset of Madison, does an absolutely fantastic job of evoking the level of competition and drama at Heartland Havoc:
The two teams took to the track to warm up. As she passed Windy City’s bench, Crackerjack, captain of the Dairyland Dolls, flipped her skirt derisively.Then with a whistle, the game was on.
Madison came out playing hard, swiftly taking off after Athena DeCrime. Athena went down, scrambled to her feet, but was hit again and again, drawing four penalties.
“She is getting pounded,” cried announcer Mouthpiece, a.k.a. Ben Tweel.
A few minutes into the game, Madison led 12-0.
Was this to be the end? Would the 18 months of grueling practices, the bruises and the ice packs, the speed skating coach flown in from Portland, Ore., the dogged climb up the WFTDA rankings, all be for naught?
In the next scoring interval — known as a jam — Hoosier Mama powered her way through the pack with aggression and agility honed by boxing and jam skating, a kind of synchronized skate-dancing. She put Windy City’s first four points on the board.
Kola Loka , a.k.a. Dakota Prosch, 30, skating so low to the ground that she was unshakable, worked her way through the pack, changing her speed, slaloming from side to side, and racking up points. By the time a Dairyland hit finally knocked her to the ground, Windy City had drawn within one of mighty Madison, 32-31.
The period was whistled to a close.
The mood was electric, the sense of a possible upset in the air. A skater for New York’s Gotham Girls walked by during the timeout. “I’m so proud of you girls,” she whispered.
Read the whole thing, don’t forget to check out the excellent video presentation that comes with it … and if you’re so inclined, it probably wouldn’t be such a bad idea to leave a comment on the article lauding author Barbara Brotman and the Tribune for giving flat-track derby the respect it’s worked hard to deserve!
(oh, and if you’re wondering why Hurt Reynolds and I have nearly the exact same post up at the exact same time … it’s because we’re blogging from the same hotel room in Austin right now. Ah, the sweet intersection of derby and complete geekdom.)