Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

February 16, 2014 at 4:43pm

Words & Photos: JBLM Bettie Brigade vs. Grunge City Rollers

The crowd cheers Foxy Blocker and the JBLM Bettie Brigade before their bout against the Grunge City Rollers Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Lacey Derby Center.

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It's a Saturday night in Lacey, Wash., and the JBLM Bettie Brigade are taking on the Grunge City Rollers' Sisters of Saint Anne on a rainy night. AC/DC and Nirvana are blasting on the loudspeaker. And the Betties have their hands full, trailing 101 to 108 at halftime. The night began with the junior varsity JBLM Bratz roller derby team pounding a much bigger Grunge City Juniors. Even though the Juniors towered over the Bratz, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord home-based team won 303 to 267.

New to roller derby? Here are the basics: Two skaters, called jammers, scramble through a pack of blockers who try to knock them down. If the jammers successfully break through the blockers, they sprint around the track and score a point for each person they legally pass. Think you have what it takes to be a Bettie?

The crowd keeps its eyes on the track for good reason: As one of the few sports to celebrate the synergy between fishnet stockings and skating really fast, JBLM roller derby is understandably stocked with tough players. Like football, roller derby alternates between bursts of action and lulls in which teams shuffle players in and out. At the start of each "jam" four skaters from each team form a pack. A whistle sounds, and all eight women start skating counter-clockwise at a decent pace. Each team keeps one "jammer" behind the pack. When a second whistle blows, the two jammers take off and try to catch up with the rest of the formation. For each opponent the jammer laps - while avoiding a ceaseless onslaught of pushing, shoving, and hip checks -she scores one point for her team.

The finer points of the game can sometimes be hard to follow. Blockers fall down. The pack breaks up. The jammers get out of sync. For the most part, people forget about the score, keeping their eyes on the jammers, and hoping not to miss any monster hits - which there were plenty Saturday night.

The Grunge City Rollers basically kept the lead the entire second half of Saturday's bout. Under the tough play, and scoring frenzy of Bettie "Foxy Blocker," the Betties threatened many times. Bettie "Mia Gravedigger" also scored points at will. In the end, though, the tough play of the Rollers, often plowing their way through blockers, gave them the victory, 208 to 179.

LINK: More photos from the JBLM Bettie Brigade vs. Grunge City Rollers Feb. 15 bout

See Also

Photos of the JBLM Bratz vs. Grunge City Juniors

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