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Whirling roller derby dervishes ‘all about sportsmanship and derby love’

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ACCORD, NY — On Saturday, September 7, Skate Time 209 hosted a derby match between the home team Mid-Hudson Misfits and the Parlor City Tricks of the B. C. Rollers from Binghamton, NY.

In this year’s August 29 to September 4 edition of The River Reporter, we covered a derby practice session of the Mid-Hudson Misfits. Seeing the following Saturday’s full-on bout was a first for a couple of folks: State Sen. Jen Metzger of the 42nd District, and this sports scribbler.

And what a bout it was, as the derby dervishes mixed it up on the rink in a rainbow of colors with more than a few full-sleeve tats on proud display.

In an impromptu rink-side interview—more like a friendly chat about the sport of flat track roller derby—Sen. Metzger said that, while watching the bout was an introductory experience, she was no stranger to roller skates; while attending Island Park High School in New Jersey, she often skated 15 minutes to school.

She recalled that her sister Anna Van Laan once skated “years ago” with the Misfits, but “then she decided she didn’t like to get hurt.”

“I’m a huge fan of the Misfits,” said Sen. Metzger. “I’ve known these guys for many, many years… Sandy (Cuellar Oxford, aka Sandstorm) and Amberly (Jane Campbell, aka Jane Bondage).”
Truth to tell, it’s pretty hard to get seriously banged up in roller derby, as the contestants are armored up with helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads and mouth guards.

Nobody said it’s not going to hurt if you hit the deck in a hotly contested bout as jammers try to break through the pack, but at least during this bout, everyone quickly got back up on their quad-skates and back into the fray.

Derby couldn’t happen without a lot of volunteers: the referees (Gandolf the Black & White, Daemon Mistress, Chris Raftis, American Honey and Seymore Payne), along with a cadre of non-skating officials (NSO’s in derby-speak), announcers, managers, score keepers and photographers, many of whom fervently follow the derby circuit.

The Mid-Hudson Misfits: #49 Squirrel Jam, Madam Manatease, Sassy Ka-Boom, Off Track Betty, Jane Bondage, Eleanor Bruisevelt, Miss Teach N. Treble, Rusty Foxidation, Ms. Anne Thrope, Mimic, Death D. Lynn Babs, Sandstorm and bench coach Hart Attack.

The Parlor City Tricks: Bad Mother, Alovicious Snuffleupagus, After Nat, Cookies N. Milf, Cherry Bomb, Sleekit, Biff Cannon, Katsup, Tiny Terror, Betty Machete, Crashendo,  Deathbridge, Peach Fuss and Pop Not Soda.

Make no mistake about it, there is a sense of empowerment on the flat-track rink as the derby dervishes make their way around the oval course, setting up rolling blockades to shut down jammers trying to break through the pack to score points.

No quarter asked, no given as the battle for supremacy raged on for 60-minutes.

March Gallagher of Rosendale was in the spectators row along with her 11-year old daughter Mae, who was dressed in a killer outfit including a cutoff Aquarian Exposition tee-shirt, black & white checkered earrings, multi-colored eyeshadow and a mohawk, while her mom sported a set of goggles straight out of “Mad Max Fury Road.”

At the end of the first 30-mintue period, the Misfits had an 11-point lead (90-79) at halftime over the Parlor City Tricks, and, at one point during the second half, had a 20-some point advantage.

But in the final minutes of the bout, the Tricks reached down deep and surged back in the final 23-seconds to pull off a 152-150 victory.

Amberly Jane Campbell, who publishes the Shawangunk Journal and skates with the Misfits as “Jane Bondage,” said of the bout, “It was a real nail biter, very exciting for the fans… It killed us to lose by two points.

“I landed a lot of good hits, and I feel good about those hits,” she said, adding of the loss, “We’re usually a second-half team.”

Sandra Oxford of Hurleyville, NY skates for the home team Misfits as “Sandstorm” when not advocating for numerous human rights causes.

“It was a very exciting bout, it’s nice when it’s competitive,” she said. “We hit each other really hard and held each other at the after-bout party… It’s all about sportsmanship and derby love.”

In recent years, Skate Time 209 began to gradually fade into the mists, and ‘for sale’ signs went up.

But a few months ago, documentary film maker Stephen Apkon and his partner in cinematic expression and social causes Marcina Hale took a real leap of faith and bought the old skating rink, which now serves as home base for the Misfits.

Apkon is the founder and former executive director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, while Hale in her role as a “master therapist and dynamic facilitator… conducts workshops that challenge and inspire others to live their lives more consciously and to take responsibility for their own creations.”

As film makers, the full-time residents of Accord recently completed a directorial debut with a documentary flick titled “Disturbing the Peace,” which “follows former enemy combatants, Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighter, who join together to say ‘Enough!’”

As executive producer, Apkon recently wrapped “Fantastic Fungi,” a soon-to-be released film by Louie Schwartzberg, that explores the magically mysterious subterranean world of mycelium.

“Three months ago, we had no idea that owning a roller rink was in our future,” said Apkon, adding that about a month ago, Skate Time 209 hosted a late night party that drew folks from across the East coast, and as far away as Canada and a couple who flew in from Seattle, WA.

“It was an incredibly eclectic, diverse crowd of people just celebrating life,” he said. “We’re excited about what’s possible here… We have to continue to grow the skate culture, and explore all the different ways the community can be involved.”

At the end of it all, both teams lined up center rink for pics, just moments after the Most Valuable Blockers (MVB) and Most Valuable Jammers (MVJ) were announced: Mid-Hudson Misfits MVB (Sassy Ka-Boom) and MVJ (Squirrel Jam); Parlor City Tricks: MVB (Bad Mother) and MVJ (Betty Machete).

Skate Time 209 is located at 5164 Route 209 in Accord, NY. For information, call 845/626-7971, or visit their website at www.skatetime209.com

For information about the Mid-Hudson Misfits or the Parlor City Tricks, visit them on Facebook.

The Mid-Hudson Misfits next home bout is against The Deuces at Skate Time 209 on Saturday, October 5, followed by an away contest against the Hellions of Troy on Saturday, November 23.

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