Dundalk Deviants among additions to local roller derby league
- By Marge Neal -
The Charm City Roller Girls, Baltimore’s roller derby league, kicked off its new skating season with a new look and three new home teams named to represent iconic Baltimore-area communities.
The Dundalk Deviants, Hampden Hons and Pigtown Butchers took to the floor at Skateland North Point on Jan. 28, in the first bout of this season’s new format of “home team” competition to augment the league’s higher level, more competitive skating bouts.
When the dust settled after the opening matches, each team had a 1-1 record as they head into the Feb. 25 matches at Skateland North Point. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the first bout starts at 8 p.m. Fans are invited to meet the players at an after-bout party at the Texas Roadhouse in Dundalk.
In season-opening action, the Hons beat the Butchers 121-113, the Butchers handled the Deviants, 79-66, and the Deviants stunned the Hons, 108-102.
The three hometown teams provide a sort of farm system for the Charm City group, according to Mary Hendrie, who skates under the track name of “Miss Dirt” for the Pigtown Butchers.
While the league’s upper-level travel teams will compete against teams from other cities, the home teams will allow fans to connect with the sport and its skaters with monthly bouts at North Point, the league’s home rink, Hendrie said. The new format also provides a venue for less experienced skaters to hone their skills and gather the experience needed to move up to more intense competition.
The Charm City group was founded in 2005 as a “loosely organized group of women,” Hendrie said, and held its first bouts in April 2006.
The sport of roller derby has enjoyed a revival of sorts over the past 12 years, and has evolved from the “fake” actions of the televised roller derby of the 1960’s and ’70s, the skater said.
“We are 1,000 percent real,” Hendrie said of the sport she and her colleagues consider a labor of love. “We don’t stage anything, we don’t fake anything; it’s a very real, full-contact sport.”
Participating in the league is indeed a labor of love for skaters, who pay dues to join.
“While it is a skater-owned organization, we don’t make a salary,” Hendrie said. “We pay dues to belong, we sell merchandise and refreshments when our team isn’t playing and we have a lot of bills to pay, like rink time, equipment and insurance, for example.”
Players have to have their own individual health insurance to participate and they must have additional insurance through the league, according to Hendrie.
“This a passion-driven project, not a money one,” she said with a laugh.
The league is also a family-friendly experience, with reasonably priced tickets and an “exciting, great vibe” surrounding the competition, Hendrie said.
Tickets that include seats are $15, and general admission, bring-your-own-chair tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. Group rates are also available.
“I encourage folks to come out and support us and meet us,” Hendrie said. “It really is fun - it kinda feels like having all of Baltimore over for Thanksgiving.”