On a Sunday in the Sunshine

When I fell in love with women’s flat track derby, I was already a fan. Derby answered a nagging question… or rather, derby helped me answer all those people at UC Santa Barbara who nagged me with the question, “So, what is a man gonna do with a BA in Women’s Studies?” This man is gonna listen to Joan Jett, drink a beer, eat a vegetarian tamale, and watch women skate around in a circle and hit each other.

The Sacred City Derby Girls defeated the Angel City Derby Girls at the WFTDA 2012 Western Region Tournament

Finally, I could go somewhere an not worry about my bad reputation (not that I really worry anyway). Derby had all types of women competing and every demographic supporting their aunts, sisters, mothers, girl friends, daughters and friends.  Derby was like Glee all grown up, except I knew the music,  I understood the references, and every competitor was someone I wanted my daughter to meet. One of the skaters even named herself belle RIGHT hooks! You gotta be kidding! I kept looking for Jane Lynch and… well, she is the only female Glee cast member I know. Full disclosure, I think she is hot. (Yeah, I know. What can I say? I also had a crush on Ellen many years ago. Who didn’t?)

The tenth seeded Sacred City Derby Girls from Sacramento defeated the eighth seeded Angel City (Los Angeles) Derby Girls 147-146 for seventh place at the 2012 Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Western Region Playoffs at Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, California on September 21-23. WFTDA, the international governing body of women's flat track roller derby, "promotes and fosters the sport of women's flat track roller derby by facilitating the development of athletic ability, sportswomanship, and goodwill among member leagues." (Bryan Farley)

But a crush is not love. I fell in love with women’s flat track roller derby when I least expected it. On a Sunday… in the sunshine, during a consolation bout between two rivals who fought hard and respected each other afterwards.

The tenth seeded Sacred City Derby Girls from Sacramento defeated the eighth seeded Angel City (Los Angeles) Derby Girls 147-146 for seventh place at the 2012 Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Western Region Playoffs at Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, California on September 21-23. WFTDA, the international governing body of women's flat track roller derby, "promotes and fosters the sport of women's flat track roller derby by facilitating the development of athletic ability, sportswomanship, and goodwill among member leagues." (Bryan Farley)

The final day of the 2012 WFTDA, WestRegion  Championships in Richmond, California featured five bouts. Sunday’s first three bouts decided fifth through tenth place. The last two bouts would decide the region’s winner and the region’s three national tournament representatives. Sacramento’s Sacred City Derby Girls and the Angel City Derby Girls from Los Angeles skated in the second bout. Fewer fans arrived for the early bouts, so many people missed one of the most exciting bouts of the year. I was still in my pre-PGiddy derby photographer days and covering the bout as if I were a real sports photographer, AND I STILL FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SPORT. The bout was that good.

The tenth seeded Sacred City Derby Girls from Sacramento defeated the eighth seeded Angel City (Los Angeles) Derby Girls 147-146 for seventh place at the 2012 Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Western Region Playoffs at Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, California on September 21-23. WFTDA, the international governing body of women's flat track roller derby, "promotes and fosters the sport of women's flat track roller derby by facilitating the development of athletic ability, sportswomanship, and goodwill among member leagues." (Bryan Farley)

I have watched athletics for about forty years. I have photographed, coached, officiated and played in many competitions. This bout was one of the best. When I review the images and watch each athlete, coach and official, I am more confident that I witnessed something special. (Watch the slideshow!) Some people argue that a match cannot be significant unless there is a title at stake. One could argue that this contest deserves extra consideration, because the women competed when others would have rested. Both teams fought hard. After the bout, rivals embraced, cried, and fell to the floor, not necessarily in that order.

The tenth seeded Sacred City Derby Girls from Sacramento defeated the eighth seeded Angel City (Los Angeles) Derby Girls 147-146 for seventh place at the 2012 Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) Western Region Playoffs at Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, California on September 21-23. WFTDA, the international governing body of women's flat track roller derby, "promotes and fosters the sport of women's flat track roller derby by facilitating the development of athletic ability, sportswomanship, and goodwill among member leagues." (Bryan Farley)

As Sacred City and Angel City renew their rivalry this Saturday, the memories of the bout are more complicated than glee. When the final jam ended (and the bout was over), both sides believed that they had won

… and they were correct.

 

bf

Comments

comments

26 Responses to “On a Sunday in the Sunshine”

  1. Angel City Derby Girls and Sacred City Derby Girls resume rivalry this weekend. Last year’s bout was one of the best sporting events I have ever watched. EVER! Thank you for last year. Amazing! I will think about you a few times while in Santa Cruz shooting.

  2. Bryan Farley says:

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  3. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for keeping this sport alive, Bryan. I have no doubt now that I missed my calling.

    • bryan farley says:

      Stephanie,

      Thank you for commenting. You are obviously one of my friends. I can only take credit for taking pictures and disclosing too much personal information when I write about derby. The people who play and the growing number of fans are keeping the sport alive. Search local bout listings and see what you have been missing. It may be too late to play, but it is not too late to be alive.

      bf

  4. Bryan Farley says:

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  8. this is fantastic. thank you for the great write up!

  9. Thank you for the photos. Many of us also appreciate that you wrote about the sport, not tutus and fishnets.

  10. Bryan Farley says:

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  12. Cris Dobbins says:

    Such a great article. Brought tears to my eyes thinking of the emotion of that moment. People always ask why I play roller derby and spend so much time dedicated to it and it’s always a hard question to answer. I think you have to experience it to really understand. I’m so glad you were there to experience it with us. We’ve got you for life now!

    Also, beautiful you take beautiful photographs. 🙂

    • bryan farley says:

      Thank you Cris for the comments and compliments.

      I have read my post and viewed my photos several times and I become emotional too. (really!). Each time I read the post I think, “that blogger almost got it right, but the bout was EVEN BETTER!” Now I tell me friends about derby… I even tell my derby friends about derby.

      I also tell people about this particular derby contest, because it transcended derby. Some rivalries are boring or violent. This bout would have been memorable if the two teams hadn’t played each other previously. The bout was also fierce while maintaining respect rarely scene anywhere between competitors. This had everything.

      so, I guess I am taking a long time to say, “yes, you have me for life.”

      thank you,

      bf

  13. Bryan Farley says:

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  15. bryan farley says:

    Rachel,

    You are welcome.

    I enjoyed reliving the bout. Next time I write about “the best bout of the besterns… maybe best ever,” I will remember to include a Runaways reference too. You folks deserve better from me. 🙂

  16. Bryan Farley says:

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  18. Bryan Farley says:

    EvilShen Anigans You are welcome. I am grateful to have documented the bout. Since every moment was contested, photographing the bout was pretty easy. Anyone who views the photos, sees the intensity, and writes about tutus and fishnets is missing something. I would offer to defend you, but obviously, you don’t need me to fight your battles.

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  22. Rachel Johnston Sorry I am late, I was out trying to fix my comment plugin issue… I wanted to be sure that you received my response and now that your side won the rematch I can share this photo. I love it. Even with the cluttered background, the picture is one of my favorites from the Bay of Reckoning. http://bryanfarley.photoshelter.com/image/I00001TIkLTKkY2g You and Tyra look determined. (The photo looks even better when viewed with the right Alkaline Trio song.)

  23. Bryan Farley says:

    Bryan Farley Photography said:

    Rachel Johnston Sorry I am late, I was out trying to fix my comment plugin issue… I wanted to be sure that you received my response and now that your side won the rematch I can share this photo. I love it. Even with the cluttered background, the picture is one of my favorites from the Bay of Reckoning. http://bryanfarley.photoshelter.com/image/I00001TIkLTKkY2g You and Tyra look determined. (The photo looks even better when viewed with the right Alkaline Trio song.)

    at 11:58 pm on March 24, 2013

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  24. […] I fell in love with derby. The 7th place bout between Sacred and Angel City is still my favorite. This post about the bout is one of my favorite too. Another one of my favorite derby posts was titled Talking to Derby Girls about Joan Jett. I […]

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