A GROUP OF WOMEN gathers in a huddle. They wear matching pinstripe skirts and serious expressions. One of them holds a clipboard and gives instructions to the others. "They’re a little worried about violence," she warns. "So I mean if you’re falling and stuff that’s fine, but no pushing each other just yet. ’Cause it’s the beginning of the night and they’ll shut us down."
These women also happen to be on roller skates.
This is the Mob Squad, the first team in Providence’s all-new, all-girl roller derby league. The speaker is the team’s manager, Madame Donna Fukwitme, a.k.a. 27-year-old Marcella A. Kroll. The Mob Squad is gathered in East Providence at the United Skates of America, an indoor roller rink and entertainment park, complete with a ring of video games and a black light laser tag space station. A dozen little kids with skates slung over their shoulders empty out of the rink as strange eerie music wafts from loudspeakers in the laser tag area, and the Mob Squad prepares for speed trials. Tonight, team members will race one another in heats, competing for the title of Providence’s fastest roller girl. The event is a fundraiser, and a crowd of about 100 people — mostly art punks and hipster types — has amassed to watch them race.
The Mob Squad name is a nod to Providence’s mafioso heritage, and as is customary in derby, each girl has taken an alias. The racers tonight include the Godmother, Maria Goomatta, Cementa Boots, Tammy Guns, DaSilva Bullet, Amanda Hugandkill, and Rhoda Perdition. With the team’s tough name and bad-girl attitude, maybe the rink officials are right to be worried.
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