The Derby Dozen(ish)

2010's local and global Roller Derby highlights

The Derby Dozen(ish)

When I start drafting the Roller Derby Top 10 for 2011, the No. 1 story will have to be that the modern sport hits its decade this year, as the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls enter their 10th season. But that doesn't mean that the 2010 season wasn't jam-packed with jam-line highlights.

Top Five Local Derby Events

1: Hotrod Threepeat: The pink and black attack established a legacy when the Hotrod Honeys took their third consecutive Texas Rollergirls title in July. Yet the Hustlers were breathing down their neck right to the final jam, and revamped Honky Tonk Heartbreakers and Hell Marys mean the Honeys face their most serious challenges to date in the new season.

2: The Big Move: Both of Austin's leagues had some packing to do this year: The banked track Lone Star league left the Austin Convention Center for the riverside views from the Palmer Events Center, while in November the flat track Texas Rollergirls announced they will be bidding farewell to their longtime home at Playland Skate Center and kicking off the 2011 season in the Convention Center.

3: Texas Rollergirls partner with the city of Austin: The Feb. 4 announcement that the Parks and Recreation Department would be opening up several facilities, including Pan-American Recreation Center and Bartholomew Park, for TXRG league and rec league practices puts roller derby out on the streets of the city that birthed the modern derby revolution.

4: Anne Richards Roller Girls vs the Austin Derby Brats: On April 20, the first and only school-based derby program in the world played host to one of the nation's longest-established peewee flat track leagues. The skaters may be little, but it was a big moment in junior derby.

5: Hustlers take a trip: There was some purple and silver on the famous Abbey Road crossing as the TXRG silver medal winners went transatlantic to face the London Rollergirls on their home turf.

Special mention: Molotov M. Pale's record-setting and game-changing 35 point jam against the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers during the final bout of the regular season.

Top Five (Inter)National Derby Events on and off the track

1: Rocky Mountain Rollergirls take the Women's Flat Track Derby Association championship: It came down to the last seconds of the last jam, but the Colorado wrecking crew beat out 2009 champs Oly Rollers in a contender for bout-of-the-year status. Their victory continues the tradition of a new WFTDA champion every year.

2: London Rollergirls graduate from the WFTDA Apprentice Program: So far, derby has primarily has been a North American enterprise, but with its first fully-fledged European member joining the WFTDA fold, more international leagues joining its big sister training program, and the first tournaments in Australia and Germany, 2010 was the year that derby became truly international.

3: Texas Rollergirls and Oly Rollers don't come first in their regions: Yeah, it was painful for the fans, but when the number one and two teams from the 2009 championship suffered a little bit of giant killing during their Women's Flat Track Derby Association regional tournaments, it was a blunt reminder that even top teams must fight for supremacy.

4: Derby Gets Nerdy: First, Oni Press (the comics firm behind Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen) publishes the Jam! roller derby anthology. Then Minnesota-based gaming house Frozen Codebase finally confirmed Jan. 10 as the release date for their long-awaited flat track-meets-Super Mario Kart game for the Wii Jam City Rollergirls.

5: Hold the Front Page! Derby continued the slow process of breaking into the mainstream and sporting media. Highlights included Huffington Post hosting several non-cheesecake photo galleries and Denver Police officer Portia Hensley (aka Frida Beater of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls) making Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd weekly column.

Special mention: The central committee of the Federation Internationale de Roller Sports recognizing roller derby as one of its official disciplines. That's an early but significant step towards derby becoming an Olympic sport.

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WFTDA, Frida Beater, Women's Flat Track Derby Association, Hotrod Honeys, Hustlers, Molotov M. Pale, Frida Beater, Austin Convention Center, Palmer Events Center, Federation Internationale de Roller Sports, Oly Rollers

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