[Note: The image gallery of the day’s bout is below.]
The groundbreaking Palm Coast Roller Derby girls held their first scrimmage bout Saturday morning in what felt like 110-degree heat at the Youth Center’s roller rink near Flagler Palm Coast High School, hosting Ocala’s Cannibals.
- Whip This: Roller Derby Jams Up Palm Coast
- Palm Coast Roller Derby Website
The Cannibals lived up to their name. They chewed through Palm Coast’s girls for most of the morning, defeating them 214-85, though as in baseball’s spring training, the score was not the point. As Anthony Burgess (of Clockwork Orange fame) noted in his autobiography, when he was old enough to know, “there’s nothing essentially wrong with cannibalism now and then.” And the derby girls’ scrimmage was just that: a first time out.
“It’s both team’s first time ever,” Malicious Man D, occasionally known as Amanda Grablin (and the team’s founder), said. “So instead of a full-on bout this is more for us to come out, play a good game, and learn what we all need to work on, and that way we can both make our teams better.”
The scene was vintage derby: fishnet stockings barely worn and strategically torn, epics of tattoos on bodies reveling in the day’s sweat, shorts that loudly and proudly overstate the meaning of the word, and that mixture of curves, crotches and musculature flouted just enough to tease, intimidate and smack all at one glance. Behind the two teams families and friends crowded three tents, along with at least three babies less than a year old, because more than anything, this was an outing of families, of mothers and sisters and daughters, the one place where boyfriends, husbands and other types of men look like surplus and clueless accessories when they don’t want to be caught gaping.
Besides the scrimmage, there was an equally significant reason to pay attention to the Palm Coast Roller Derby girls (don’t call them women; it’s protocol) Saturday and beyond. They have their eyes set on Bunnell’s Carver Gym.
That’s the gym in South Bunnell, one of the county’s oldest and longest-serving community structures, that the Flagler County Commission is looking to shut down, much to the concern of the almost-entirely black community and children it serves.
“We went down and talked to somebody the other day who was going to ask a supervisor if we could get okayed for Carver Gym,” Malicious said. “We have not heard back yet, so we’re just waiting and seeing and crossing our fingers, because it would be really nice to be somewhere that’s under cover.”
The team is interested in moving there not just to have a more clement place to practice and hold its bouts, but to help keep the gym open. “If we can move over there it brings more people, then more people hear about it,” the team leader said. “I didn’t even know we had a gym over there.”
The team, which has grown to more than 20 members and referees, is considering making its own contributions toward the gym. “Most of us are mothers here. We would like to be able to help with the gym. We don’t want those kids over there flushed down the toilet.”
Palm Coast Roller Derby’s Cannibals Bout: Image Gallery