By Celeste McAlpin-Levitt
As they roar around the track, the roller derby skaters jostle for position at the front of the pack, trying to stay ahead of their rivals from the opposing team. The Varsity Brawlers are trying to unseat the Tough Cookies for this year’s championship. Around the Los Angeles Derby Dolls arena, fans clap and scream their favorite players’ names while munching on food truck fare. The energy is high as the jam comes to a close, with the scoreboard showing the teams nearly neck and neck.
The sport of roller derby dates back to the mid-1930s when Leo Seltzer formed a touring company of teams playing an early form of the high contact sport on roller skates. Throughout most of the 20th century it was a predominantly male sport, but in the early 2000s several all-female, local leagues began to develop in different parts of the U.S. These leagues often had a strong punk or rockabilly aesthetic both in the rink and in the stands, and emphasized a feminist, queer, empowering atmosphere. Enthusiasm for the sport increased rapidly, with 2,000 leagues sprouting up worldwide. The sport gained popularity with the 2009 release of Whip It!, starring Ellen Page as a gifted skater new to the sport.
Continue reading Need a Break from Football? Check out L.A. Women’s Roller Derby
By Audrey Moore
“What a shot, yaar! SHABASH!” The batting team roars with excitement, cheering on the teammate who just successfully smashed our taped tennis ball outside of Cromwell and into Brittingham Field. Another six runs are added to the score. Immediately, I check my camera and scroll through the photos to make sure I got a good shot of the small white ball whirling past the bleachers; content, I kneel back down in the dugout and poise myself for another set of cricketing clicks. This is the focus of my life for the next six hours: it’s Friday Night Lights, and there’s no place I’d rather be.
In fact, this is my life every Friday night. From 6:00pm until midnight, I trek from my nearby apartment to the Cromwell Track and Field Stadium to manage our Trojan Cricket Club’s Cromwell Premier League (CPL) tournament and photograph our players. Now as the acting club President, it’s amazing to believe that just over a year ago I couldn’t even describe the rules of cricket, let alone partake in this fun, competitive pastime.
I owe that to USC.
Given that USC has the highest percentage of international students enrolled in the world, it’s no surprise that some of the first friends I met here came from countries far outside the U.S. In my freshman year, the International Residential College toured me around Chinatown for the Mid-Autumn Festival, where I tried my first moon cake (red bean is definitely the best!) and ogled over traditional dragon dances. My Kenyan choir friend taught me how to play the congas after a rehearsal session at the Caruso Catholic Center. And the Indian graduate students who worked in our dining hall introduced me to cricket.
Continue reading “Laghe Raho!” with Trojan Cricket Club