Hellions on wheels

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Saturday is your last chance this year to cheer on Brooklyn’s home team — in roller derby.

The Brooklyn Bombshells are gearing up for their final home game on July 19th against the Manhattan Mayhem at Coney Island’s Abe Stark Skating Arena.

The two teams are part of Gotham Girls Roller Derby, a do-it-yourself league run collectively by its members that competes nationwide through the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.

Other teams under the Gotham Girls’ banner include the Queens of Pain, the Wall Street Traitors, and the Grand Central Terminators — all of which practice out of the Crash Pad in Williamsburg.

The players have clever nicknames as well — including Brutal Noodle, Bunny McBones, Full Metal Jackie, and Pippi Strongsocking — and the pseudonyms are an important part of a derby dame’s identity.

“We all have interesting names that we choose ourselves,” said Raggedy Animal of the Brooklyn Bombshells, who insisted on being identified only by her derby name. “For some, it’s based on their name — such as Evilicious whose first name is Eva. Others could be based on their interest or even work life. Papierschnitt — the German word for ‘paper cutter’ — works as a paper maker. The name change is in the spirit of old-school roller derby of fun frivolity.”

The sport isn’t all fun and games, and can get pretty rough when opposing teams’ “jammers” and “blockers” collide. Teams score points each time its jammers skate past a line on the circular track. The blockers are tasked with preventing opposing jammers from completing a circuit — and protecting their own jammers from opposing blockers.

Raggedy is now in her ninth season on the track. Gotham Girl Roller Derby started in 2005 and she became a fan. She tried out the next year and was drafted by the Brooklyn Bombshells.

Would-be players start with a recreational league coached by Gotham Girls players, and many don’t get drafted for a few years.

Interest in the sport is growing with spectators.

“We’ve been selling out, which makes us extremely happy, and the audiences have been amazingly supportive and raucous,” said Raggedy.

Brooklyn Bombshells vs. Manhattan Mayhem at Abe Stark Skating Arena [1902 W 19th St. between W. 21st Street and the Parachute Jump in Coney Island. (718) 946–3135] July 19, doors open at 4 pm, match starts at 5 pm, $19.99.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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