The franchise moved to Chicago in 1972, and until recent years, only memories of the fast-paced game have surfaced here in paradise.
The sport was “reborn” in 2001, and has become a fast, fierce, and completely “real” game on a flat track. And although history reflects a time where the full-contact sport widen its appeal with its allegedly fixed, wrestling-on-wheels upon sloped tracks, the flat track roller derby of today is much more strategic, requires athleticism and has strict rules.
Hawai‘i has gotten in on the action, as various teams have formed on O‘ahu, and the Maui Roller Girls (MRG) came together in February 2008. What started out as four friends soon grew to over 20 girls skating anywhere they could, eventually finding homebase in Kahului.
“It’s very exciting to see the sport growing so fast, and becoming something new all over again,” said MRG boardmember and skater Skarre Bomb, aka Tracey Johnson.
MRG is a nonprofit, all-women’s flat track roller derby organization committed to “creating an environment that empowers the wahine of Maui to play and promote the sport of roller derby” while supporting their community.
At its foundation, roller derby is a speed race on quad skates, but at the heart are its brave warriors on wheels who develop a strong sense of athleticism and sisterhood, while getting a few bruises along the way. Punk aesthetic and tattoos are optional.
The skater-owned and -operated MRG league abide by their rules and those of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, a national alliance formed in 2004 to promote and foster the sport’s ideals of athletics, goodwill and “sportswomanship.”
“Roller derby is very athletic and a lot of fun,” said Skarre Bomb. “It’s a great outlet for women to express themselves and release aggression.”
Seven members of the MRG’s team, the Crazy 808’s, get to participate in the Pacific Roller Derby’s All-Star Team and compete in national battles.
MRG is pumped about its first official bout when the Crazy 808’s take on the Garden Island Renegade Rollerz of Kaua‘i on Saturday, March 27, on their home turf at Central Maui Boys & Girls Club, located at 100 Kanaloa Ave. in Kahului.
The interisland clash starts at 3 p.m. and is a free, all-ages and substance-free event. So, race over and help spread the derby love with some of Maui’s own spirited and resilient roller derby stars.
If you can’t make the inaugural match, the next one on Maui is set for May 22.
And all aspiring players are more than welcome to come check out MRG’s practices on their home court on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m.