Auckland’s Pirate City are rocking the city this weekend. Normally this post would be all "hey, get along and see them!" except they don’t need your fucking pity.
The new venue is the YMCA on the corner of Pitt St and Grey’s Ave, handy walking distance to K Rd, is already close to sold out. The last tweet I saw had it at 100 door tickets left. This going to be a big bout. And the skaters are happy to be in town. No more skating around in the suburbs.
The fans are pretty stoked too. But what makes you a derby fan, and why do people get so passionate about it after only a few bouts.
Kaiya Irvine, a Dead Wreckoning supporter, says that she loves "the eclectic mix of people that it brings together – and the girls are hot! I tell [people who don't 'get' derby] they need to come and see for themselves how talented, athletic and amazing these women are. And once you get someone along to watch their first bout, they are hooked."
Kelly Barbeler is a massive fan of Wreckoning skater Scheisse Minnelli, "because she manages to make kicking some serious derby ass look easy, and her antics keep things interesting (looking cool as a cucumber as she glides around the rink, dancing her heart out, and passing the opposing team" (However it was Scheisse who asked the questions for me so there may be some survey bias here).
Neither Kelly nor Kaiya would care if their favourite skaters changed teams, they would still follow them.
So why do people enjoy Roller Derby? Don't ask stupid questions. Why do people like any sport? They want to see amazing feats of athleticism performed by people who, given time and training and support, could be them.
But here's the other thing, no one watches derby alone.
MC Mic Riot said that when he first went to derby, he didn't quite know what to expect and didn't know anyone. But the community of the sport in undeniable, and he found himself easily fitting in as a member of another small sport that people don't always take seriously: wrestling.
While some sports fans are strikingly elitist in their attempts to explain how little you really know about the sport; derby fans fall over themselves to help you understand and get you up to play so you can all yell along together. And that's what I like about roller derby.
Pirate City's 2010: A Skate Odyssey.
There's roughly 100 tickets left for doorsales. No Punching.