The Rollergirls collectively agree that the opening season has been a huge success, largely due to the extensive time and effort put in by the athletes, their families, and their fans. “Everybody’s just done a tremendous job,” said Amber “Wreckin Belle” Selice, team captain of the Violations. “Looking at us from the expo bouts to where we are now is incredible; we’ve come such a long way. I was falling the first three months of practice!” Selice cites the derbiers’ work-ethic and commitment as major factors in the league’s success. Despite juggling time between day jobs and being mothers, wives, and girlfriends, each team had a minimum of three practices a week — with additional practices during game weeks.
“We’ve learned so much about running a roller-derby league and the logistics of it in this first season,” said Megan “Megahurtz*FM” Cullum, team captain of the Violations and public-relations coordinator for the league. “We’ve watched bouts put on by teams in other leagues across the state and have brought ideas back here to help everything become a well-oiled machine.”
In addition to the regular schedule, the league has established an interleague squad, Las Tejanas, which comprises women from all four ACR teams and competes statewide. The squad’s last outing was the Governor’s Cup, held in Austin on September 3, where they faced interleague teams from Dallas and Houston in tournament play. The Dallas Derby Devils won the Cup, which netted them the right to play in a 10-minute “super jam” with the Texas Rollergirls of Austin — considered the premier league in the nation.
“It’s such an empowering, exciting sport,” said Cullum. “There’s over 100 flat-track roller-derby leagues governed by the `Women’s Flat Track Derby Association`. After the Austin league sparked interest in the sport again, it’s taken off across the state and the nation.”
Since their league is still evolving, two of the main challenges SA’s Rollergirls face are finding sponsorships and practice space. Indoor-rink rental runs about $200 an hour, so the teams often practice in various outdoor parking lots which doesn’t simulate the game-day experience, to say the least. The girls also get scraped up much more outside.
“Finding a permanent home is our goal,” said Cullum. “It would allow us to practice several times a week, and we could paint our track on the floor instead of wasting our time drawing a chalk ring in a parking lot.” Cullum also said sponsorships and donations of any kind help the league tremendously, as fliers, print materials, and other promotional tools are so costly.
Though they plan to take some rest before the 2007 season begins in March, the majority of the girls won’t be off their skates for long. “We’re going to be training longer and harder,” said Selice. “We’ll be skating nonstop throughout the offseason, and we’ll be having events, expos, and fundraisers to help us get ready.” Tryouts for the 2007 season are tentatively scheduled for October 21, and the girls welcome any interested skaters to work out with the teams beforehand.
Selice stresses the league’s focus on making matches enjoyable for the spectator. “We’ve been lucky that we have such a wide variety of people who come to our bouts,” she said. “The young and the old, the punk-rock and the metal crowds, they all come together to support roller derby in San Antonio. Not every city has that.”
The September 17 bout will take place at The Rollercade, 223 Recoleta. $10 advance, $12 at the door, kids 10 and under free. Doors 6:30 p.m. Purchase through Alamocityrollergirls.com, at The Rollercade, and at The Mix, 2423 N. St. Mary’s St. Info on the league, upcoming events, and sponsorship at Alamocityrollergirls.com.