Arts & Culture
Bexar County Roller Girls complete an SA derby triumvirate
Published: February 22, 2012
When it comes to roller derby, don't be fooled by the fishnets.
"It's an actual sport," says CJ Herrera, a new Bexar County Roller Girls member. "It's work. It's competitive."
And with the spin-off of two new teams from from the founding Alamo City Rollergirls within the past few years — including the Bexar County Roller Girls and San Antonio Roller Derby's Charmed Forces — flat-track action will be fierce this season.
Most recently out of the gate is the Bexar County Roller Girls, founded by the pint-sized, spiky-haired Hollow Point (who adamantly refuses to divulge her legal name) and four other skaters who had grown disaffected with their experiences with the other teams. "I felt like we were becoming stagnant skaters," said Hollow Point about leaving ACRG. "It wasn't fulfilling. We want to be a threat. We don't want anyone to mess with us."
In a sport where points are earned by protecting a lead skater or "jammer" by physically blocking other skaters, engagements that can send players skidding to the hardwood, Bexar County Roller Girls members say they're not fueled by aggression, they're simply playing a sport. "Everyone thinks derby girls get their aggression out on the rink," said Nicole Pabia, aka Huckleberry Slam. "I don't have an aggression problem. I'm here for my sport. I don't want to get injured. I have four kids. I have people who depend on me."
For now, the Bexar County Roller Girls, edging onto the rink as the rookie team with only one season of games under their belt, and the Charmed Forces, who formed in 2009, are apprentice teams, limited in who they can play until they receive their Women’s Flat Track Derby Association* status. In the bigger derby world it's the Alamo City Rollergirls who have been San Antonio's reigning derby queens since forming in 2006. With so many former members creating their own teams, is the only WFTDA-approved local team threatened?
"We think it's fantastic there are more teams," said Elyse Bleckman, known as EL.A. Dodgeher. "We have the love for the same sport."
Respect flows both ways, but it's inevitably colored by those shared — and not always friendly — histories. While Alamo City wrote a letter in support of Bexar County's search for Flat Track certification, Charmed Forces weren't as supportive of Bexar County, according to Hollow Point. "San Antonio Roller Derby bashed us really hard," she said. "They said we wouldn't succeed, that we needed to go home. Guess what? We have a home at Car-Vel Skateland and sponsors and play on Friday. Their curse was a blessing."
In their common fight for Flat-Track certification, it's the Charmed Forces that Bexar County is competing with.
"Alamo Rollergirls have been around for a long time, so they have their stuff straight," said Pabia. "But as for the San Antonio Charmed Forces … let's just say we take it seriously."
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