I have to say, in all honesty, this was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Why? Because everything about it was so incongruous, out of place in cynical, high-tech, homogenized America. Here were 28 women, who were consistently referred to as "girls" throughout the evening, who know how to rollerskate incredibly well (a skill that was already pretty unusual when I was in high school), with a pretty wide age range (I'd say late teens to mid 40s), dressed up in scandalous outfits, with suggestive names (Lolita Le Bruise, Mary Tyler Morphine, Erin Go Braless, etc.), but who are totally serious and focused when they're doing their sport (no faking or hamming it up, which was more what I expected), all of it taking place in a roller rink (another rare institution) that looked like it was built in 1948 and never had anything fixed or painted since, in front of a crowd that might have reached 500 by the end of the evening, with an even wider age range (newborns to 80 year olds). I mean, where can you see such a thing?
When I see some odd subculture like this making a go of it and finding an audience, I am always encouraged that there is hope for our bland, tasteless, Disneyfied world, where we all consume the same Sony/Disney/Viacom infotainment, we all eat the same McFood, and we all dream of the day where, if we work really hard, we might be able to afford a McMansion and think and believe exactly as everyone else does. Something like roller derby really is a celebration of individuality, difference, and originality, whatever you think of its aesthetics.
UPDATE: And a comment from the lovely and brutal Nuf Ced, and I have friended all the players on MySpace!