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Remember the days of televised banked track women playing Roller Derby? Well I am here to say “We’re Baa-ack”! Last year two women from Hollister Stasha Maroney (Irish Kreemd’R) and Stacey Vanderlel (Supersonic Pebbles) started the Faultline Derby Devilz with the hopes of bringing organized Roller Derby to Hollister. The Devilz practice twice a week in a large warehouse off Orchard Road in Hollister and have almost 20 members. They will have succeeded by completing the teams’ first full season with 4 home bouts and 4 away bouts.
Now, I’d like to take a little time to explain some of the terminology we use in Derby so that you will have a complete understanding of the information I am going to share. A game in football is the equivalent to a bout in Derby. At a bouts there are 2 minute jams which would be equal to an inning in baseball. During these jams there are 4 blockers and 1 jammer for each team putting 10 total players out on the track at one time. The jammer is the player that dodges players to get through the pack, which is the majority of the players from both teams. The jammer is assisted by blockers from her same team. After the jammers make their initial passes through the pack they score 1 point for each opposing player they pass. The first jammer through the pack is pronounced the led jammer and can call off the jam at any time before the two minute jam is over. During a bout there are referees who watch the players and send them to the timeout box for major penalties.
If you haven’t been to one of the Devilz’ bouts this year there are a couple things you should know that have changed about Roller Derby. I know from personal experience as a jammer that the hits players take in today’s Roller Derby are real and not staged like what we use to watch on TV. The teams’ coaches take lots of time preparing skaters on how to take and give hits. The idea is to put a player out of bounds while still staying in bounds yourself, disrupting the opposing teams’ strategy and separating its players. During a bout the most exciting aspect for spectators is seeing players being hit by other players. I assure you this activity is painful and leaves marks. Although due to a lot of adrenaline at the time most of which you don’t feel until after the bout.
The other change to Roller Derby has been the track. Most teams’ now practice and bout on flat tracks versus banked tracks. I believe the main reason for this is due to the cost to build a banked track and the space needed to construct it. Also after witnessing a recent accident off a banked track from a faulty railing I am glad the Devilz use a flat track. I have heard that banked tracks are a lot of fun to skate on because of the speed you can gain by going from the top of the track to the bottom.
I don’t really know if this is a change to Roller Derby but it is something that I have come to know and love about my Derby team. The Devilz have a sisterhood and not only do they support one another on the track they also do the same off the track. We look out for each other. Although we have many differences when we come together from different parts of the area we come with the same goal. Our goal is to have a good time and to hit hard!
The Faultline Derby Devilz is a non-profit group of women who empower each other. Our last home bout is Saturday, October 26th at Bolado Park in Hollister. The doors open at 2pm and the bout begins at 3pm against the Hooligans from Hanford. The bout name Bite Night encourages people to dress up to see the Zombies vs. the Vampires! Tickets only $10.00 pre-sale for $15.00 at the door and are available at Livin’ the Green Dream/Gateway Properties at 33 Washington St. or Daisy’s at 213 Third St. or call (831)588-9407.