Sometimes writers need to do research—even fiction writers. My friends took me to the new Kaiser Stadium in Santa Cruz where the Santa Cruz roller derby teams share the building with the Warriors basketball team. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We presented our tickets at the door and went to our third-row seats to enjoy talented female athletes who mean business. But for the sake of my mystery novel, I put the derby girls in the old roller rink on Seabright Avenue. Here is a blurb.
Someone blew a whistle. Everyone stood up for the National Anthem and then settled down in their seats, or in the case of dozens of people behind us, stood for the next two hours.
The Silicon Valley Roller Girls filed onto the oval flat track looking like polished clones in their white helmets, green and white tank tops and shorts with black knee and wrist pads. They completed several laps, impressing the crowd with synchronized exercises to help them limber up.
Then came the Santa Cruz team, the Seabright Sirens in basic blue and black accented with colorful leggings and tattoos, not to mention a head of blue hair, a pink one and a gold one. They exercised around the rink showing off their expert moves and decorative attire, with their roller derby names printed on the back of their regulation tank tops. Names like Baby Girl, Merry Pain, Toxic Moxie, Rotten Weiler, Unleashed, Kamikaze Rozy, Checkout, Rocker and Patti Smithereens.
A whistle blew.
Eight helmeted gals positioned themselves into two, four-person blockades while two jammers waited for a signal. One of the six referees blasted his whistle and the two jammers charged the human blockades.
Spectators screamed until I thought my ears would burst.
Even my demure friend, Alicia, stood up, waved her arms and shouted.
Boardwalk Bombers in the blue helmets
Toxic Moxie, wearing black and blue, danced side-to-side behind three women in white and suddenly turned her slender body sideways, slipping right through the blockade. She leaned forward and fast-skated around the rink only to tackle the blockade again. Four times in a row she managed to out smart the Silicon Valley gals.
I watched the Santa Cruz team rack up three times as many points as the Valley team.