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Long Island Roller Rebels Host Empire Skate Showdown

What do you get when you cross the NHL with NASCAR and the NHL? Roller Derby is what, and it’s happening right here on Long Island. On Saturday, Sept. 4 the local derby divas, the Long Island Roller Rebels, hosted a tournament at Skate Safe America in Bethpage against seven other teams from across New York State. Hundreds of spectators gathered, arriving often and early to get the coveted rink-side seating for their favorite team’s battle.

The teams completed 12 bouts over the course of the day, operating in the facility’s two flat track rinks. Gotham Girls Wall Street Traitors won the tournament.

“The injuries are the worst thing, but I am proud of the injuries because even though I might be hurting, it’s like a badge of honor,” said teammate, Point N. Shoot, who travels from the Hamptons to skate with the Rebels. Although she has never had what she considers a serious injury, in almost three years that she’s been skating, she was competing in the tournament with a severely pinched nerve in her shoulder.

With names like: Carnage Electra, Cyanide Kisses, Breakneck Brie, Chest Blockwell or Violet Knockout it is easy to assume the grittiness and raw candor you could expect from a run in with these ladies. The 40-member, Roller Rebels are an all-female team, ranging in age from 21 to 50.

The women converge on Bethpage and Seaford weekly for training and practices, travelling from Brooklyn, Bayside, Rockville Centre, Levittown, Farmingdale, Sayville, Riverhead and all points in-between. And of course, they hail from an endless variety of backgrounds and careers, some are students, mothers, lawyers, teachers, police officers, and even bankers. Despite their differences outside of the rink, their athleticism, teamwork, and friendship is bonded by their shared passion for the sport.

“This [roller derby] is a hot mess,” said D-Ball of Rockville Centre. “I never knew anything about it until I came to a practice once and they recruited me and I fell in love with it, we’re like a family.”

The team is always looking for fresh recruits, with tryouts usually in November. Additionally, they welcome volunteers for staffing, refereeing and other support tasks.

“I would describe it as a sporting event, but less straight-laced and less traditional than other sports,” said Carnage Electra. “It’s a tremendous commitment, of time, and money and energy; it’s like having a second job.”

Spectators can see these girls in action on Saturday, Sept. 18 or again on Saturday, Oct. 23, both interleague events begin at 7 p.m. at Skate Safe America in Old Bethpage, just west from the Melville Marriott on Route 110. Admission for the home games is $10 per ticket.

Carnage Electra said, “Everyone that I talk to about roller derby has always thought it was one thing and after they see it, they realize that it is nothing like what they expected.”

Information can be found on the team’s official website at: www.longislandroller or by calling their hotline at: (631) 891-5887.