Maddie Chalk / Editor in Chief
Corpus Christi’s newest roller derby league, the C.C. Maidens Texas Derby opened its doors seven months ago at the start of derby season. Today, this league has over 35 players that participate in practices and the games, called “bouts”, which they hold monthly.
“The majority of our league is made up of volunteers: announcers, referees, and even the girls,” Announcer and treasurer, Ninah Ross said. “The dues that the girls pay, along with the proceeds from our ticket sales to the bouts help pay to rent out the Ayers Event Center and for travel when we play out of town.”
The girls meet three times a week, Monday through Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. A girl is considered a part of the team if she attends at least eight practices a month. Although there are other derbies in town, the Maidens don’t play against them due to a conflict of interest.
“Many of the girls on the team have come over from the other derbies, myself included,” Coach and team member, Bruja Loca said.
Despite the team that the girls play for, the game is the same. Each bout consists of 12 two-minute jams in the first half, and 12 in the second half.
The object of the game is to have your team’s “jammer” pass through the opposing team’s “pack”.
“Each team has five members, four in the pack and one jammer,” Loca said. “The jammer has to pass the pack once before points can be scored, but on the second time around, each girl from the opposing team that the jammer passes, they get one point.”
Don’t get the wrong idea, though, these girls are all on roller skates and decked out in pads for a reason.
“We have to wear knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, a mouth guard, and a helmet,” Hurricane, whose primary position is a jammer, said. “But we also like to wear fishnet stockings so that when you fall, the track doesn’t catch your skin.”
All of that required safety equipment starts to add up, though, making roller derby an expensive sport to play.
“Each set of pads can run upwards of a hundred dollars,” Silent Siren, a new girl to the team, said. “And skates can vary based on the brand you buy and the specialty parts you can add to them. Mine were only about a hundred, but some of the girls paid $500 or even $1,000 for theirs.”
The safety gear is very necessary for the injuries that the girls will inevitably encounter on the track.
“Every time a girl takes a particularly bad hit or really goes down hard and gets a bruise, it’s more of an honor,” Loca said.
“Pictures of the bruise go on Facebook and the girls take it as an individual trophy.”
The rules are designed to keep the girls safe, so certain moves are illegal. Using your elbows or hands to push another girl is off limits.
“Usually if the girls break one of these rules, they are issued a minor,” Head coach, Sugar said. “Four minors make a major and lands the girl in the penalty box for 60 seconds. That is a big deal when each jam is only two minutes long.”
There are also penalties for pushing a girl on her back, making her fall forward, and for breaking into a fight on the track.
“Fights are actually pretty common during our inter-league games where the girls divide into teams and play against each other,” Sugar said. “However, when the girls play other teams, the rules are much stricter and there is no fighting allowed whatsoever. We let them have it out in the inter-league games because it’s very entertaining for the audience.”
The Maidens play on a flat track, which is black paint on the floor, designating what is in and out of bounds.
An alternate version of the sport has the same rules, but is played on a banked track. The closest banked track can be found in Austin, TX—the very same track featured in the motion picture, “Whip It.”
“It’s the same concept, but much more difficult to skate when you’re on a slanted track,” Hurricane said. “I’ve tried to skate banked track once, but it wasn’t pretty.”
The Maidens’ next game is on Sept. 16 at the Ayers Event Center. Presale tickets are $5 and can be purchased at Bomb Records at Ayers and S.P.I.D., Friends 4Ever on Weber, or at the event center itself. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 on the day of the game. Over 700 people attended the last bout, and the parking lot fills up quickly, so arrive early for optimal seating.
To join the C.C. Maidens, simply show up to practice with a pair of skates and the girls and the coaches can help you learn how to derby. Otherwise, visit them online at www.ccmaidentexasderby.org.
“We encourage new skaters and people interested in the sport to join,” Ross said. “It takes a lot of work and dedication, but if you want to learn, we’ll teach you what you need to know.”