Gather around youngins, because Uncle Tank is about to spin you a yarn, Grandpa Simpson-style. Roller derby hasn’t always been the well-regulated, fiercely competitive, hyper-athletic, international sport that it is today.

You see, back in the early 2000s, the Texas Rollergirls invented the sport of flat track roller derby, and thanks to a reality TV show called “Rollergirls” and a social media site called “MySpace,” the sport started to spread across the United States. Leagues from different cities playing each other was an idea at the time, but it was rarity. Instead, leagues created what they called “home teams,” in which skaters would be drafted onto teams for intra-league play.
Rollergirls were recruited at bars or by talking to friends that had tattoos and dyed hair. Smoke breaks at practice were a normal thing. People barely knew how to skate, uniforms were handmade and it was commonplace to see at least one fight per bout, which was more tackling than fighting. And of course, winning the after party was just as important as winning a game.
Back in 2006, the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ home teams were the Bloody Sundaes, the Dames of Destruction, the Full Metal Corsets and the Cincinnati Riots. After a couple of years, the league decided to shelter the teams and combine everyone under the Cincinnati Rollergirls banner onto either the Black Sheep, the A team, or the Violent Lambs, the B team.
Now, in 2017, what was old is new again, but with a twist. On Saturday, Sept. 16 at Skatetown USA, in the first of four fall games, the Cincinnati Rollegirls debut their new home teams in a back to school-themed bout: The Union Terminators, named after historic Cincinnati landmark Union Terminal, and the Helltown Hellions, named after an old nickname for Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood.
What makes these teams unique is that they will have a rotating cast of players over the course of the season. You’ll see rookies, current players and even some retired CRG players who are dusting off their skates and returning to the track. On top of that, you’ll also see a few members of the Cincinnati Battering Rams and other local men’s derby players taking the track. These teams were drafted to be as evenly matched as possible, so I am expecting to see a very tight game in terms of scoring.
This is a great chance for newer players such as Noah Pologies and The Slayer get more track time as they prep for their second season in the spring of 2018, when the Black Sheep and Violent Lambs return to action. You’ll also get to see the debut of Crystal Whip, Medea, MEL-icious Mischief, Moreno Mauler and JJ Streeter, who will be skating in their first games.
Plus, a few other skaters with previous derby experience will be making their first appearances with CRG: Doom, a transfer from San Diego Roller Derby; Ficus, a former junior derby player from Lexington; and Ohio Roller Derby’s Paige Bleed, who is skating with CRG just for the fall. After several years playing for Ohio Roller Derby in Columbus, we’ll also see Garden of Beatin’ return to her CRG roots. And both Polly Rocket and Cincinnati Rollergirls’ owner, Miss Print, are coming out of retirement for this fall season.
Make sure you stick around after the game, as there will be an open skate so that you too can get out on the floor with your favorite skaters. (Don’t worry, they aren’t allowed to hip check civilians.) As for me, I’ll be wearing an onion on my belt, sipping on a PBR, and pretending that it’s 2006 all over again.
Click here for more information about the Back to School Bout & Open Skate and to buy tickets.
Crystal Whip
Garden of Beatin’
¡I, Caramba!
JJ Streeter
Miss Print
Paige Bleed
Royal T
Sailor Scary
The Slayer
Ada Burnlace
Cherry Choke
Ellie Stab’er
Gnarly Manson
Jas Hubbard
MEL-icious Mischief
Moreno Mauler
Noah Pologies
Polly Rocket
Scrappy Sue