Friday, September 21, 2007

Mission Improbable...

It all began with a simple phone call.

“Hello. Is this Mr. Diggler?”

“Why, yes it is. Who is this?”

“You don’t need to know who this is; you just need to step outside onto the sidewalk in front of your house in five minutes.”

“What? Who is this? What’s going on here?”

“Look, if you know what’s good for you just be out in front of your house in five minutes.”

There was something about the voice that both intrigued and frightened me at the same time. I wondered if it might be one of those C.R.G. (Cincinnati Rollers Girls) skaters trying to intimidate me, but then I realized the speaker had been using actual words instead of guttural grunts and snarls. I knew instantly this was a capability far beyond even the most developed Cincinnati skater and I calmed down a bit. Throwing caution to the wind I decided to follow the instructions I'd been given and let adventure take me wherever it would.

Well, no sooner had I stepped out to the curb when a sinister looking black van with dark tinted windows roared to a screeching stop right in front of me. Before I could think of reacting two sliding cargo doors on the side of the van opened up and at least six hands reached out, snatched me up and pulled me into the vehicle. As tires screamed in squealing agony I found myself blindfolded, gagged and bound with my hands tied behind my back.

It was difficult to keep any sense of direction as the van careened along a winding twisting path through the night but if my razor keen senses are any clue we eventually came to a stop somewhere in or close to Fairborn. Soon after I was dragged inside a building, my blindfold and restraining bonds were loosened and I found myself face to face with the Gem City Roller Girls.

Mandi Mayhem laughing in the face of pain.

“Well howdy girls!”

“Shut up, Diggler!” Mandi Mayhem snapped tersely. She glared at me for a minute and continued on. “Someone’s been putting out the word that we’re defunct as a team and our days are done. You’re going to put an end to these rumors and set the record straight.”

I looked into the angry eyes of Mandi Mayhem and the girls standing around her. They were dressed in battle gear and I could tell something was about to go down.

“How can I help?”

“Observe our practice and tell the world what you saw here this evening.”

With that the team began performing a complicated set of physical endurance routines the like of which I’ve never before witnessed. For the next two hours I observed the sweat and dedication the Gem City Roller Girls bring to the Derby League table. Let me be the first to assure you that there is no quit in this stalwart group of women. They are alive and well and any rumor as to their demise is plumb foolishness. These girls are gearing up for their best season ever in 2008 and if you want to see roller derby at it’s finest you have no further to journey than one of their upcoming bouts.

2008 will bring back familiar faces.

What the GCRG did not realize was that yours truly, “The Diggler”, anticipating the unexpected as always had made sure to arm myself with my trusty belt buckle spy camera. The images you see on this post are grainy and in some cases blurry but I did my best under the circumstances.

As practice came to an end Mandi Mayhem and several of the other girls skated up to me.

“You’ll report what you’ve witnessed here tonight?”

“Yes, Mandi, I will let the world know that you and the GCRG are alive and well and any word to the contrary is a lie. You have my word on it.”

Alright then, girls, blindfold and gag him and toss him back into the van.” Mandi turned to skate back to the fray.

“Wait a minute”, I cried out, “it’s okay, we’re at the Skyborn Skateland. I know where we are so there’s no need for all the cloak and dagger anymore.”

Mandi smiled her eyes dark and cold. “Sorry, Diggler, it’s just the way we roll.”

Hey, we still got Seoul!

Shortly thereafter I was tossed out of the still moving van where I landed in the front yard of my home. Thankfully my wife Felicia found me this morning when she let the dogs out for their morning constitutional.

I just wish she’d found me before they did their business...

Seriously folks, if you find yourself in the Oregon District listening to someone tell you all about the GCRG dirt just look them in the eye and ask why they aren’t at practice. You see, that’s where you’ll find the real truth about the GCRG as they prepare for the upcoming 2008 season.

Trust the Diggler, I’ve been there and they are coming with a vengeance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Think you've got what it takes?

Upcoming Tryouts and Boot camps

The Gem City Roller-girls are gearing up for their 2008 season are actively recruiting athletic women in the Dayton area to join the team!


OCTOBER 28TH (Sunday) 10am-12pm – This is a mandatory orientation where you’ll learn what is required to become a skater for the “Gem City Roller Girls”.

Topics of discussion will include: proper equipment, monthly dues, USARS insurance, practice schedule, attendance expectation, etc.

Boot camp schedule *

November 4th (Sunday)- 9am-12pm
November 5th (Monday)- 9pm-11pm
November 6th (Tuesday)- 9pm-11pm
November 8th (Thursday)- 9pm-11pm
November 11th (Sunday)- 9am-12pm
November 12th (Monday)- 9pm-11pm
November 13th (Tuesday)- 9pm-11pm
November 15th (Thursday)- 9pm-11pm

* Must attend all dates

Contact Phoenix Fatality at for all recruitment questions.

You can also message them at MySpace!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Let's hear it for the fans!

There are small fans...

There are themed fans.

There are big fans...

There are fans of fans...

There are family fans.

Then there's the biggest fan of all...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Someone left the cake out in the pain...

Diggler's Angels; "skate hard and party harder."

If there’s anything more fun than joining the Gem City Roller Girls for an evening of pulse pounding action on the concrete oval it’s joining them afterwards at their favorite watering hole, the Kings Table. It was my personal pleasure to hang with my favorite girls after the season finale and let me tell you these girls skate hard and they party even harder. The Kings Table puts out a pretty good buffet and the drinks are served up just the way I like my ladies, strong and capable of putting my lights out with a single punch.

Girls and cake. Truly a winning combo!

Don’t let your evening with the Gem city Roller Girls end with the action on the concrete oval. Follow the ladies to the King’s Table located at 2348 Grange Hall Rd. in Beavercreek, Ohio and enjoy the warm camaraderie and friendly atmosphere of this fine establishment. The experience of meeting both teams and getting up close and personal is one you don’t want to miss.

They sure seemed meaner on the track...

"Hey Killian, pull my finger."

My thanks go out to the Gem City Roller Girls for allowing me to be a part of their activities. It is a joy to chronicle the ongoing success of this organization and I hope to continue doing so for a long time to come.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Skater Spotlight - (#88 ) Harlot Johannson

A good girl with a bad name.

One of the most intriguing aspects of my experience with Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby is how it has affected my perspective of the “every day woman” I come into contact with in my daily life. The ideal woman portrayed to us through the media is a writhing sex pot dancing and singing about the glories of her lady hump. It bothers me that because of this image young men around me are being taught to perceive women as nothing more than sex objects and as trophies to be acquired as proof of their masculine prowess.

The women of the concrete oval are clad in battle armor of elbow and knee pads. Their heads are crowned with safety helmets. The song they sing is one of camaraderie and the strength that comes through teamwork. These woman are looked upon by the young boys sitting in the stands with awe and respect. (You can see it in their eyes at every bout.) It is perhaps the very first time they’ve seen a woman presented as something other than a wiggly jiggling sex toy. It is an epiphany moment for these young men.

The beauty of the roller girl lies in her heart and her spirit. Her triumph is in taking whatever hits land upon her and continuing on with her chin up and her head held high. Her glory is in her ability to survive in a world determined to shove her to the tarmac and stomp her into submission.

Roller Girls are real women. They live in our home towns and our local neighborhoods. They are the threads that hold together our homes, our families and often times our relationships. Damn they’re beautiful...

Oh, and unlike televised pageant queens they can answer straight forward questions with straight forward answers. With that, I give you my first close up interview with one of our hometown heroines.

Interview with a Harlot

1. I can’t help but notice how both little girls and boys look up to you as an inspirational figure. As a role model, what is the most important thing you’d like to say to kids?

I would like them to take note of the strength that all of the women in this sport portray. Also, that we are all women from so many different backgrounds, we do not judge each other or anyone else. We are proud of who we are and who our teammates are. We are athletes; we train, and practice just as you do in any other sport. Just because we are not on ESPN does not mean that we don’t work hard. We sweat, we bleed, and we get hurt and injured the same as all other sports. The difference is, we have to get up and go to a job the next morning, or take care of our children and families. We do not get paid to do this we do it for the pure love of the sport. For us it’s all about passion and heart.

2. What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself while participating in the sport of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby?

I have learned that I have a lot to offer people. I am a strong woman, and a smart woman. I am courageous. I have gained such confidence in myself, I am more willing to try new things, take that first step, and venture off into new territory on my own than ever before. I owe that all to this sport and the women in it.

3. If it all ended tomorrow, what would be your favorite memory of the Roller Derby experience?

I honestly do not have just one. That is impossible for me. I was not an active skater in our exhibition bout in 2006. I remember standing on top of the balcony looking down at the Coliseum at a full house (standing room only) and the never ending line of people trying to get in at the front door. Right then and there, with my heart beating so intensely, I knew this was something huge. Also our end of the year banquet giving out awards to each and every member of our league; Talk Derby to Me our final bout one week ago, and all of the overwhelming emotion that poured out of each one of us as the period clock hit 0:00. Those are just a select few of the endless memories I would take with me.

4. What is the most important thing you’d like your fans to remember about you and your career as a skater?

That I was always thrilled to be on the track, I would always smile and laugh, and that no matter what I always put forth 110%.

5. What is you number one dream in life and has your time as a Gem City Roller Girl helped prepare you to achieve it?

Wow I have many things I would like to do, or try. I guess #1 would be to be an Events planner of some sort, not your typical “wedding planner” (although not ruling it out) a party planner, organizer of large events. (I.E.). Events put on by 5 Rivers Metro Parks, large charity events. Being in this organization I have had the opportunity to be a member of our Events Committee and help to plan and organize Events for our league. So that has helped get me on the right track to achieving my goal.

6. Who is your favorite Roller Derby Fan?

Well naturally you, Dirk Diggler. I would have to say you are up at the top, right underneath my husband and his sister who put on the back of a purple shirt “My sister is a Harlot.” I love that shirt! But also back in April at our Rock n Roller girl Event at Skate World of Kettering, I met a couple probably in the 40’s, the husband’s name was Rick I believe and he was so thrilled to have discovered Roller Derby in Dayton and had not been to a bout yet. I told him that our season opener was in a few weeks at the beginning of May and he and his wife should attend. (As I am trying to sell him raffle tickets) Well he really wanted to win the family 4 pack of tickets to the bout and unfortunately he didn’t but one of our members (a volunteer) did and he said to me “I get in for free, what am I going to do with these?” So I pointed him in the direction of Rick and said “Why not give them to that couple, they are really interested.” So he passed them along to them, and they stopped by on the way out and showed me how someone gave them the tickets. At the home opener I saw him and chatted with him for a few minutes, and he has been back to every one of our bouts ever since and that just makes me smile.

Do you see now why I love this sport?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Have I mentioned the officiating?

Why won't you make the proper call?

If there’s one thing I have a complaint about in my Roller Derby experience to date it simply has to be with the crew of officials. I‘ve spent hours reviewing the game films with a meticulous and careful eye. Now, I’m not one to be a whistle blower, but I can count at least twelve instances of “unnecessary ogling” and not once was yours truly, “The Diggler”, whistled for it and sent to the penalty box. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been guilty of illegal “body checking”. Where are the officials with the calls?

Come on Mistress,
even my wife knows I need disciplined.

If there is one single track side individual deserving of being sent to the penalty box and disciplined most vigorously by the Mistress herself it is I, “The Diggler”. I hate having to call myself out like this, especially in such a public forum, but I’ve been naughty and I believe the officiating crew needs to take immediate and stern action. (Uh, I don’t believe any monetary fine is called for, but I certainly think some sort of disciplinary action would be appropriate.) If proper crowd control is not instituted and instituted quickly the entire sideline could fall into chaos. I don’t think any of us would like to see that happen.

Don’t make me beg...

(After all, it’s for the good of the game.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Every time a cowbell rings a derby girl gets her wings.

Mandi Mayhem, always present and accounted for.

Saturday night saw the curtain come down on the 2007 Gem City Roller Girl’s second season. It was a bittersweet evening at best, due in no small part to the off track performances rather than the competitive action on the cement oval. Something was missing at last night’s bout and it wasn’t just Hannah Barbaric. The fans were ready for a celebration last night. The season record didn’t matter to us. Playoffs and championship trophies didn’t matter to us. Shucks, we didn’t really care if the Gem City Girls finished off the season with a win or not. The most important thing to us, the fans of Dayton, Ohio Roller Derby, was showing up for the finale of the season and showing a little love for a group of women who’ve become an important part of our local community family.

Saturday night should have been a celebration of some important victories for the Gem City Roller Girls. First off, you people have achieved something a lot of other sports organizations have failed to do; you survived a second season. That’s right, do you know how many baseball, football, wrestling and basketball leagues have folded up their camps without having completed one full season let alone two? That is a significant accomplishment and you should be very proud.

We're talking really "big" Roller Girl fans.

Last but not least, and I just don’t care what the final score indicates, you have given your fans the very thing you seem to feel you have failed at and that is winning roller derby. Yeah, I said “Winning Roller Derby”. You’ve won the hearts of those of us who have come out to see you play. We’re intelligent fans and we realize that building a winning team requires time and patience. As long as you’re busting your butts and playing hard you won’t hear us complaining. As a matter of fact, the very next bout you’re playing in and the only thing you’re feeling is frustration at the point total on the scoreboard, I want you to turn an ear towards the sidelines and give a listen. You’ll hear cheers, cowbells and shouts of encouragement and appreciation. You’ll hear the true sound of victory; fans who love you no matter what you do: win, lose or draw. We won’t quit on you even if fellow teammates do...

Hannah, you don’t leave people you love you without saying goodbye. You disappointed a lot of folks. One last skate was so much to ask?

Now, I want to hand out a little love to some of my favorite girls. Right now it’s just a tip of the hat, but I’ll find a way to give the “Diggler Award” a little more substance.

First Annual “Diggler” Awards

Not a pocket rocket...

“Never Say Cry Award”-Goes to Polly Rocket.

All I can say is I’ve seen women in "Jerry Springer" relationships who take less punishment on a bout by bout basis than Sweet Polly. It never ceases to amaze me the hits she’ll get up from and keep right on skating through the pack. When she starts wind milling that fist in the air it pumps the crowd up and you just can’t help but love her for her grit and determination.

Always putting a positive spin on things.

“Best face Forward Award”-Goes to Seoul Sister.

At every bout I’ve attended there is always one skater on the track long after everyone else is in the locker room. She always has something positive to say and I’ve ever heard her speak a negative word about anyone or anything associated with the sport of Roller Derby. She loves what she’s doing and she loves the fans who love the sport. Seoul Sister puts a wonderful face on the world of Roller Derby and represents everything good about the women who make it happen.

H-m-m-m... Would flambé be the right term here?

“Best Signature Move”-Goes to Cherry Tart.

Come on, when she lifts that skirt and flashes the “cherries” what’s not to love? Even when there’s nothing else to say she still says it all.

“Fan Favorite Award”-Goes to the Gem City Roller Girls who’ve stayed.

There is something just as important as winning and that is commitment and team loyalty. When the love of your fans is as important as victory on the oval you come away with something that will last long after the thrill of victory has perished. You come away with our respect and admiration. You girls should hold your heads high because you’ve shown your partners, your children and those of us who love to watch you skate that you are warriors in every sense of the word. You’ve shown us that you are equals and in some cases even better than equals. You are hometown heroes and we applaud your toughness, your determination and your accomplishments.

With that I declare the 2007 season a wrap. Thanks for the many wonderful memories and I hope to see all of you next season.


I’ve still got a ton of photos to get through and I’ll be posting again within the next few days.

Keep checking back because you never know when the “Diggler” is going be in the mood to start handing out the good loving...