Roller Derby in New York: Gotham Home Season

Thanks to some lucky timing, I'm currently in New York for a conference, having arrived on Saturday just in time to catch Gotham Girls Roller Derby (who some of you may have heard of ;) ) playing one of their Home Season bouts - regular season winners Queens of Pain playing other regular season winners Bronx Gridlock.

As with all situations where something familiar is embedded in something new, the experience was as interesting as to what was the same as to what was different. Despite their terrifying reputation, Gotham's home season bouts are hosted in College/University sports facilities, which are not particularly roomy; the venue at Hunter College has almost exactly enough width on the track for the track, the outside pack refs and one row of "VIP" seats on each side.

Being too cheap to spring for the VIP tickets, I simply turned up earlier and sat on the front row of the normal seating. This actually turns out to be generally better than the VIP seats, which are a bit too close to really take in the whole track at a glance, while the raised bleachers that host the generic seating give a better view. (For Glasgow, the Kelvinhall would actually provide a better justification for VIP trackside, since there's much more space for well positioned trackside locations, if you throw in some beanbags as London do).

The track was excellent, thanks to Gotham springing for the modular Skate Court surface tiles (which they then lay on whichever venue they're bouting at). I did appreciate the shocking pink tape used to lay out the track boundaries...

The bout itself was excellently reported, as always, by Gotham's in-house reporter, Thomas Gerbasi: http://www.gothamgirlsrollerderby.com/news/1375/what-rebuilding-year-bronx-back-on-track-with-170-142-win-over-queens

After the bout, the after-party was also relatively amusing, although basically no different than the kind you get in the UK. Essentially, Gotham are, despite being the Number 1 team, also, of course, "just skaters" like the rest of the roller Derby community. And this is a good thing.

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