The Lowcountry High Rollers will knock you out. Dame Right of the High Rollers is talking with us today about derby……and dinner. If you haven’t gone to see Charleston’s ladies on skates you are missing out. They had to open up extra areas of seating at their season opener in February because so many people came to watch. Their next match is March 26th at the Citadel’s McAlister Field House .
To me roller derby is today what wrestling was in the early 80s . I compare them because are typically set up in places not designed for their sport. They both involve a lot of physical contact and risk of injury. The athletes love what they do and that gets the crowd really pumped up. There are counterculture overtones everywhere. There is a spirit of fun throughout. You see it in the names of the athletes, the drama between the coaches and refs, the way the crowd participates with signs and shirts. There is one big difference……..THIS IS REAL.
Annie Simpson goes by the derby name Dame Right and her jersey number is 110%. She is the nicest person you will ever meet until you start counting points at something and then the competitive side takes over. I have seen her play dodge-ball and single handedly come back and win after being the last person on her team on the court. She came back and beat 7 opponents….mainly men. That kind of play doesn’t rely on competitive spirit alone. It takes conditioning and preparation. She says that there is also some dietary preparation required the days leading up to a big bout. “We are heartily encouraged to change our eating habits in the two days prior to playing in a big game. I constantly have one of our coach’s voice (Blood T-Bone) in my head saying, ’You all need to carb load and lay off the red meat’. We are also encouraged to eat a big breakfast on the morning of, including bananas, pancakes, eggs, etc.” The derby match consists of dozens of short rounds called jams. The jams can last a maximum of couple minutes but can be called off at any time by the lead jammer. Football players only have to play for an average of 8 seconds per play before getting to stop and huddle. These girls have to go for several minutes and need to build up endurance. Dame Right is mainly a blocker which means she is in charge of slowing down the jammers and laying big hits on opposing players to prevent their team from scoring. She is fantastic at blocking, hitting and just plain pestering opposing jammers. She will hit you, knock you off balance, or just put the breaks on right in front of you. If you happen to get around her at first don’t count her out. She will speed up and get right back in your way.
Here is some of our interview with Dame Right:
Dame Right: My most consistent and favorite thing is grabbing a burger at the bar of Planet Follywood on Center St. on Folly Beach. Their burgers are the best, and they cook them to order at whatever temp you choose, a must as far as I am concerned! For brunch, there is no better spot than The Lost Dog Cafe on Folly.
CFB: What about your perfect day of eating around Charleston?
Dame Right: Hmmm, a perfect day of eating in Charleston is a tough one, especially because I tend to cook at home most of the time. I would start with breakfast and bottomless Mimosas at Gene’s Haufbrau in West Ashley. It is the perfect cure for a heavy head from a night out. Lunch would hands down include enjoying the Lunch Express deal at Slightly North of Broad . Two courses, plus a drink, at one of the best restaurants in town all for under $10 can not be beat! My current favorite spot for dinner, drinks, and dessert is The Wild Olive on John’s Island. It is a quaint Northern Italian gem that my mother and I frequent at least 3-4 times a month. Plus they have $19 wine bottle specials on Sunday and Monday nights.
CFB: Have you seen many dirty moves during bouts?
Dame Right: I can’t say that I have seen many dirty moves since I began playing Roller Derby in the fall of 2009. The strangest and most upsetting thing that I saw recently was when a team was getting pretty badly beaten, they came out on the rink after half-time and began protesting by not engaging when the jam’s were started. They let at least three or four jams go by without engaging in the play at all. They were just skating around like stick figures. It upset me to see the poor sportsmanship and I was really mad that they were letting the fans down. In the end, they began playing again, but I will never forget their strange behavior.
CFB: Does it hurt really bad when you fall?
Dame Right: As for falling, most of us have no problem and no fear of falling. We are trained from the very beginning to fall properly and safely (although falls that result in floor burns are really the pits). What can really hurt is getting hit. I have gotten hit in the solar plexus so hard that I was seeing stars. The most memorable hits on our team tend to come from Sexual Chocolate. She hits like a brick house. I have told her many times that she makes a poor chiropractor even though she makes it her job to dis-align my spine. Thanks goodness we have Dr. Sean Gaffney as our team Chiropractor who is always setting us back to rights.
That is one tough cookie. I don’t care how much someone teaches me to fall it is gonna hurt. There are many derby teams near Charleston. Here are the teams scheduled to play the High Rollers this season:
If there is a team near, you go check them out. You will have a good time and all of your friends will be amazed if you can teach them the rules. I promise they will knock you out…..so don’t sit too close!
P.S. High Rollers I have some songs by female artists that I think would work well in your music rotation….(unless they are already in the mix):
Joan Jett: Bad Reputation
Garbage: I Think I’m Paranoid …or…I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Florence and the Machine: Dog Days are Over
Adele: Rolling in the Deep (see below)