Roller derby reaction mainly good, but . . .

This column topic may be a smidgen on the late side, but I didn’t quite grasp the bit of fallout from the roller derby event, “Bordertown Shutdown,” here a week ago Saturday.
Apparently, some in attendance learned a new acronym as a result of the team names selected for the “bout.”
It obviously was used as a play on “paper mill” and “kraft mill”—a type of wordplay that is common in the sport, especially given players and referees alike assume derby names.
Many of them are humorous, but clearly intended for a more adult audience, especially in such cases as players “Mora Pobitch” and “Kris Myass,” both of whom figured in the bulk of the action.
In last week’s column, I jokingly alluded to how singing the national anthems beforehand seemed out of place, but truthfully it was.
Therein lies the difficulty of trying to run such an event in a small town—the balance between putting on an event that’s exactly as planned and getting people in the seats to fund it.
By the sounds of things, a number of fans enjoyed the bout. And even the Times’ weekly web poll at suggested more than 40 percent of those who voted would attend a future roller derby “bout” here should one be held.
Sure, online polls aren’t the most scientific but to have 40 percent support isn’t bad.
On the flip side, there apparently was a little awkwardness when a curvy picture appeared on the front page of last Monday’s Daily Bulletin, with the cutline referring to the teams’ names.
I think much of the issue came down to children as the young ’uns were openly invited to attend the bout and “push a roller girl” races even were scheduled at halftime.
I found the appeal to families odd right off the bat, but didn’t think too much of it since the posters around town pretty clearly set the counter-culture tone for the event.
It will be interesting to see what happens if the local team is able to acquire a practice space, keep improving, and eventually host another event.
Will they tone things down in the way of fans, but potentially be viewed as “selling out”? Or will they take the “this is who we are and this is what we do, take it or leave it” tack?
In Winnipeg and other larger centres, there are enough niche markets available to fill the Winnipeg Convention Centre for a full-on “bout.” But in a place like Fort Frances, where there’s now a better understanding of what exactly roller derby is, what will the crowd makeup be?
With rental costs and, potentially, travel costs popping up, it’s probably safe to say that selling more tickets would be the best plan of attack.
However, if the derby dolls keep up the “Ah, the heck with it” spirit, then all the more power to them.

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