On February 28th the Tampa Roller Derby –a card carrying member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)– began its tenth ass-kicking season. The Tampa Roller Derby is comprised of four “home” teams, each sponsored by a local brewery: Cigar City Mafia (Cigar City Brewing), Switchblade Sisters (Coppertail Brewing Co.), Vicegrip Vixens (Barley Mow Brewing Co.), and Black Widows (Southern Brewing). Skaters from each of these teams make up the Tampa Tantrums (who compete nationally and are ranked 19th in the world) and the Tampa Bay Bruise Crew (who compete at the state level against other Floridian teams).
The women who make up the Tampa Roller Derby are seriously competitive athletes who spend countless hours skating hard, falling harder, and getting right back up and in the game. Watching them at practice and in competition is a little like watching a Lifetime Original Movie, it’s a dramatic mixture of mayhem, violence, and female empowerment. Apart from the audible burping and the sometimes cringe-worthy falls, one of the most noticeable aspects of the game is the amount of encouragement that team members offer each other and their competitors during each “jam” (a two minute match up). While you might hear some light-hearted and eloquent sideline shit-talking, you are just as likely to hear players encourage and compliment each other. According to some members, the league is guided by a strong “sense of sisterhood, acceptance, and inclusivity” that makes them special and unique.
While the Tampa Roller Derby athletes are dedicated to perfecting their skills and take the sport seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Team members sport classically punny names such as Laryn Kill, Taz Maniac, and Pinky Bruised-Her. There is also my personal favorite name, Trip McNeely, a nod to the epic 1998 high school rom-com Can’t Hardly Wait. The games are fun and laid back and include raffles, craft beer, a pink flamingo mascot, baked goods, and lots of swag for purchase. The season continues through October 14th so there are plenty of opportunities to catch a game. You can also keep up with all of the derby activities on their website, Facebook page, and by listening to Tampa Bay Sports Second with Roy Sabean. Are you pumped yet? Well, get excited or I’ll punch you in the face and groin respectively.
Remaining Season Schedule
- April 18, 2015 Doubleheader – Switchblade Sisters vs. Cigar City Mafia; Tampa Mashup vs. Orlando Derby Girls
- May 16, 2015 Doubleheader – Cigar City Mafia vs. Black Widows; Tampa Tantrums vs. Detroit Derby Girls
- June 20, 2015 Doubleheader – Black Widows vs. Switchblade Sisters; Tampa Tantrums vs. Mother State Roller Derby
- July 11, 2015 Cigar City Mafia vs. Switchblade Sisters
- August 15 – 16: Franky Panky Annual Invitational
- September 26, 2015 Doubleheader – Cigar City Mafia vs. Black Widows; Tampa Mashup vs. TBD
- October 2014 League Championships – More Info Coming Soon!
Tampa Roller Derby games are played at Downtown Skate, located at 5313 E. Busch Blvd. in Tampa.
All games begin at 6:00 pm unless otherwise noted. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Purchase tickets here!