by Jim Almy
Antagonist Roller Derby or “ARD” formed last spring when USA Roller Sports (USARS) announced that they would lower their age to 14 for adult competition. Explaining the genesis of ARD , co-owner Chris Hunter said, “I have been involved in Junior Roller Derby for almost 9 years at various levels and have been privileged to witness the growth of many junior skaters who were, in my judgment, ready to compete at a higher level.” That feeling was shared by a number of other derby skaters in the area and led to the creation of the Antagonist, a team with skaters whose age spans 14 to 51.
When the Rat City All-Star team was selected a few weeks ago Coach Ho Chi Danh and his assistant coaches Sirius Mischief and Kitty Kamikaze divided the original group into an “A” and “B” team. The “A” team, the Rat City Rollergirls All-Stars, will play a second bout that night against The Sacrificers from Sacramento. That bout pits teams ranked #17 and #32 internationally. Rat City All-Stars has the #17 ranking. These two teams are not unfamiliar with each other.
There is a history of current ROT players previously being on Antagonist, such as Rattleskate, Enurgizer Bunny and Short Fuse. Conversely, current Rat City skaters have joined the USARS team in their off-season, including Devilynne Syde, unshine, and Deva Stateher. ARD also have former Rat City members Wile Peyote, Death by Dollface, and Pia Mess skating this weekend while being coached Chuck Hendrick.
Most recently, one of the Rat City Rollergirls home teams, Sockit Wenches, faced Antagonist at the Spokarnage tournament a couple weeks ago. ROT and Sockit Wench skater Kitty Kabooty said, “It was a tough battle. They are fast, extremely agile, and we will need focused and strong defense to shut them down.”
Both the USARS and the Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) are controlling bodies over roller derby leagues. WFTDA membership is the largest and Rat City plays under their rules, which includes a minimum age limit of 18.
This Saturday’s bout will be played under WFTDA rules other than the age limit. In their first season, which only lasted three months, the Antagonist took second in the Regional USARS series and third at Nationals. Hunter explained that “many in the community, including myself, thought of this endeavor as an experiment and we were not sure if we could sustain such a model. To my excitement the team overwhelmingly voted to shake the label of being a pick up team and continue developing our model. With fresh motivation and growing interest in our platform we agreed to continue competing against USARS teams and work on becoming a WFTDA apprentice team. We appreciate all flavors of derby and embrace anyone that will play us; our goal is to stay competitive at the highest level.”
Pursuing that level of competition will be put to the test against ROT, a team considered better than many of the all-star teams ranked in the top 40 internationally. Hunter explained that Antagonist has an, “…interesting cross section of skaters; the range is 14 to 51 years of age. Khanisha Rodney, one of our captains, is in the military. Samantha Adams, 16, who travels from Portland to practice on a regular basis, is currently on track to graduate from college early, she and her family have been great. Taylor Williams just turned 18 and is going to Arizona State University in August on a sports scholarship. We have a pair of sisters, Sierra Sagos, 16, and Maya Sagos, one of our youngest players at 14. Maya is someone to watch along with Roismaire Rickel, another very promising junior. Gráinne Hunter just turned 18.”
For tickets to the bout THIS Saturday at KeyArena, go HERE