The Joys of Roller Derby and Kicking Ass [VIDEO]


Andromeda Macri (aka Hela Skelter) has been skating with the Gotham Girls Roller Derby team for more than eight years. As captain of the Brooklyn Bombshells, one of six teams that comprise the non-profit skating league, Hela, 31, has seen the game evolve to semi-pro status since she joined in 2005. “I started doing it for fun, and it turned into a very serious thing after a while,” she said. Besides helming the Bombshells, Hela also skates with the All Stars, a traveling team of top players that competes against leagues around the world. Video after the jump.

Ironically, Hela didn’t come from much of a sports background aside from forays into tae kwon do and basketball. “In basketball, you probably shouldn’t hit anyone; that’s against the rules,” Hela said. “But being able to work with a team and hit people and skate really fast is an incredible adrenaline rush.”

The rules of roller derby are pretty simple. Five players from each team face off on a flat track: four blockers and one jammer. Blockers form a pack and try to block the opposing team’s jammer from breaking through. The jammer scores a point for each opponent they skate past after breaking through the blockers. Hela mostly blocks, but sometimes jams

Hela spends her days working in book publishing, but spends up to 12 hours a week practicing at a space in Bushwick. She also coaches the junior league and foresees getting more involved with them down the road. “I’ve been coaching them for the last year and I think that’s my passion.”

On Aug. 3 at the Abe Stark rink in Coney Island, Hela and her Bombshells went against the Bronx Gridlock to decide who would forge ahead to the championship round.

Win or lose, there’s a reason why Hela is one of the long-term members of the league. “When you’re in the moment, everything’s happening around you… you’re going really fast but you have time to think too, kind of like you’re in the matrix,” she said. “It’s like no other sport.”