Derby news from LA to Cleveland

Jessica Cuffman
Feb 19, 2013

Broken bones, bruises and bloody noses.

"Bones" featured an episode earlier this month, called "The Doll in the Derby."

You can find it on Hulu.

The show moves a bit slow for me, considering the science of the murders depends on forensic anthropology — the reconstruction of bare bones human remains.

But with the injuries derby skaters can sustain, it was probably inevitable the show's writers would come up with the subject.

The first point investigators made was to point out the unidentifiable victim as a possible abuse victim, evident by old fractures, including missing teeth. They ID'd her from the serial number on a tooth implant.

SPOILER ALERT/SHOW SYNOPSIS: The victim in this case, a skater named Pummel-ya Anderson, leads a fairly reckless life after her divorce from her doctor husband.

There's a bit of obvious irony in her name, considering the team discovers she was pummeled to death with a rollerskate and her remains were cut up with a saw used to build the team's banked track.

Her body is discovered in a abandoned slaughterhouse only a few hundred yards away from where the team practices.

I won't give away the ending, i.e., who her killer is. But I will say it turns out to be fairly obvious.

What fascinated me was the way roller derby was portrayed in the episode. It wasn't terribly inaccurate, but there were a few points I wanted to make.

1) The banked track is cool. But the Sandusky team and most other teams across the world play flat-track roller derby. Which means we just need a giant, flat space to skate on, such as where we make our home now at the Erie County Fairgrounds. A banked track tends to be too expensive and inconvenient in terms of storage for most teams to even consider managing.

2) Because we don't have a banked track, there's no chance we're flipping over railings on the outside. Because there are no railings. (Though during bouts we do tend to fly into crowds from time to time.)

3) I've never seen so much blood in derby. As for broken bones, bruises, sprains? Heck yeah. Off the top of my head, I can name as skater injuries a broken tailbone, broken ribs, a broken leg, arm and finger. Girls, if I'm missing any chime in in the comments. Bruises happen daily. Sprains aren't unusual. I'll have to ask my derby peeps for a full history, but in the time I've been skating I've never seen someone all out bleed on the track. And definitely not from the forehead, as the first derby girl seen in the "Bones" episode is when the detectives discover her. (We wear helmets for a reason.)

4) The part that amused me most: During the episode, a member of the forensic team goes undercover, trying out to fill the recently vacant spot on the team. Her real objective, however, is to inspect the other players' skates for blood to find the suspected murder weapon. After she survives tryouts, she pulls out her nifty glasses and light scanner thingy to check the skates conveniently stacked on a shelf in an empty locker room for blood splatter. She finds evidence of blood all right. On every single pair of skates. Literally, any other roller girl reading this is laughing out loud.

Sure, we get a little rowdy sometimes. But we're not all-out heathens who just stampede to death other skaters who get in our way.

The media attention from the "Bones" episode is nothing new for the Los Angeles Derby Dolls. The show was filmed in their rink, with their skaters. And they were the team that skated in Drew Barrymore's "Whip It!," and a dozen other television shows, according to PR Newswire.

In other derby news: A co-worker pointed out to me a team competing in this season's "Amazing Race" are roller derby moms.

Mona Egender and Beth Bandimere skate as Triple Shot Misto and Fiona Grapple, respectively, for the Rocky Mountain Rolllergirls' 5280 Fight Club. Cute news clip, HERE.

Bringing it back home, the Burning River Roller Girls, Cleveland's most prominent roller derby league, kicked off their home season this past weekend. It was some fun derby to watch, as Youngstown's Little Steel Derby Girls came out with a win in the first game against Burning River's Hazmat Crew, and the home team's All-Stars pulled a win in the second round against Twin City, a team out of Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

Toledo's Glass City Rollers have a few games left in their home season, too.

Comments

Eden

I've only seen blood once. It was a bloody nose, and the girl tried to hide it from the referees because, as a rule, you're not allowed to skate if you're bleeding. Also, skates are expensive. Who would use them as a weapon? :P