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Gold Coast Roller Derby Grrls Play Their First Match in Miami

Categories: Culture, Sports
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Grrls just wanna have fun...and knock you down.
Grab the nearest mouth guard, roller derby is coming to Miami. Actually, it's always been here. We've just had to share a team with those less cool counties up north. (Suck it, New Times Broward-Palm Beach!) But this Saturday, South Florida's Gold Coast Derby Grrls take on Atlanta's Sake Tuyas at their fist ever Miami match.

The team pulls crowds of 1,500 people when they play in Broward. But will the Derby Grrls draw similar crowds at Miami's Doral Park Country Club? They should. They're 3-1 this season (after one painful loss to Portland's Axes of Annihilation), and they're up for the major leagues.

We talked with one of their coaches, Carnivorous Licks, who says they've had lots of requests for derby in Miami. Five of their current players already hail from the 305. Now how 'bout an all-Miami team? Fed on a steady diet of cortaditos and churros, Miami girls hit harder and faster. How rough can it get? Let's just say you don't get the name Ivanna Tripabitch without cracking a few skulls first.

New Times: Do you think people come to games just to see ladies get hurt?

Carnivorous Licks:
It's why people also love lingerie football. You don't expect us to hit as hard as we do. You don't expect the aggressiveness. You're going to see some serious hitting, some serious speed.

What's the worst injury you've seen?

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Coach Carnivorous Licks
On our team, we've had shattered clavicles, broken noses, and torn ACLs. I actually just sprained my knee -- I'm out this week. I've been skating for three years, and I wasn't paying attention and one of our biggest blockers hit me, and there went my knee.

One of the worst injuries I've ever heard of is Tequila Mockingbird in Windy City broke her spine in a game. Incidents of injury are very high, but that's why we work so hard in our training. Girls aren't even allowed to skate until they learn how to fall properly.

How good are your opponents this Saturday -- the Sake Tuyas?

Atlanta's a pretty good team. But our A players are going against their A players, so it should be pretty even.

Do you have to re-build the rink each time you play a new venue?

Seminole Casino bought us skate court -- a sort of plastic skateable surface. We borrow that when we do outside venues. At Doral, we'll throw it down on the tennis courts and have coliseum seating.

How did last year's Drew Barrymore roller derby flick Whip It affect interest in your league?

Everybody went crazy and was like, "Is this real?" Right after Whip It hit theaters, we had a Halloween game where we had to turn people away. It was packed. They wanted to see real-life roller derby.

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Jammer in the front, blockers in the rear.
So has it died down since then?

No, the momentum is getting bigger and bigger.

Do the longer established teams have the better players?

To be able to play derby well, you have to have strategy. It's almost like chess. You don't have to hit hard or skate fast. It's all about knowing how to work the field.

This is our third year as a league. We're going to WFTDA, which is going from the minors to the majors. We're flying down all these teams, who have been around for years to gain experience. Our first year, we only skated Florida teams. Now, we scope out national teams who are in WFTDA.

We're going to the East Coast Derby Extravaganza in June, a huge three-day event that's put on by the Philly Roller Girls. It's 21 WFTDA matches. It's going to be a huge learning experience for us.

How long does it take to train a newbie before they're ready to go helmet-to-helmet?

About three months. A lot of them have office jobs. They're professionals, teachers, and paralegals, and they don't do physical activity. But with us, they practice three times a week.

What's the deal with the skate names?

The names are earned. A lot of people think they'll get a cool name and dress cute and that's it. No, you're an athlete. You practice your ass off, then you get a derby name. They're the players' alter-egos. They may be quiet at work but when they play at night, they're very different. Some players want to use their real names, so they'll be considered serious athletes. But that's what makes derby different. We don't want to be that mainstream.

Do guys ever try to join the team?

We only accept guys as refs. There are men's coed teams called merby.

The Gold Coast Derby Grrls battle Atlanta's Sake Tuyas this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Doral Park Country Club (5001 NW 104th Ave., Doral). Suicide seating is available for hard-core fans. Tickets cost $10 to $15. Visit goldcoastderbygrrls.com.

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