Roller Derby Not Just for the Ladies

A popular rough-and-tumble pastime dominated by women is now gaining momentum with men.

Roller derby, which gained its popularity in the '70s, has male roller derby leagues springing up across the nation.
"The girls made it popular because, who wants to watch a bunch of dudes in spandex and halter tops?" said a Dallas Deception derby player who calls himself Ninja Fresh.

Molli Mahan, a female player, said the ranks are expanding with an eye on competition.

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"They know they need guys to grow the game, because they want to be in the X Games," she said.

Today's game is dominated by tattoos and piercings instead of spandex and halter tops.

"We like to run our mouths on the track," said Rhine Holford, Dallas Deception general manager. "We like to do tricks. That's what we're known for, and we're OK with that."

He started Dallas Deception in 2007 with nine guys. The team has grown to nearly 30 players. They practice with their sister team, the Dallas Derby Devils, and travel the country to play, or "bout," other teams.

"This is every sport you can think of," player Brad Isaacks said. "This is hitting each other -- football. We are on skates -- hockey. We are going fast -- NASCAR."

The goal is for a player on each team -- called a jammer -- to score points. They do so by skating through the pack of players in front of them.

It's a task that's far from simple, as the opposite team tries to block them from skating through.

"There were a few wimps that came here that turned out to be wimps no more," Isaacks said.

"You put your gear on, and you man up, and you enjoy it," Ninja Fresh said.

Dallas Deception's next bout will take place Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Lonestar Indoor Sports Center in Denton.

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