Friday, June 23, 2006

wicked curves


AUSTIN, Texas — Donning red fishnets and olive drab miniskirts, the women of Seattle’s Derby Liberation Front roll onto the track raising revolutionary fists in the air. The team’s mascot, Dr. Five, strides across the arena in fatigues, mirrored sunglasses and a red beret. It’s showdown time at Playland Skate Center.

In the lineup are Kim Reaper, D-Bomb, Sybil Unrest and Ann R. Kissed — who as a newcomer is considered “fresh meat” on this team. Two key players — Burnett Down (injured) and Captain Lorna Boom (pregnant) — are on the sidelines, worsening the team's already poor odds against the more seasoned Honky Tonk Heartbreakers of Austin.

"We're up against what is probably the best team in the world," says Ida Slapta, aka Meghan Smith, who has been known to show up for her day job as a receptionist with her nose out of joint and sporting a shiner. "They're very, very aggressive."

Despite Ida’s misgivings, the Derby Liberation Front proves itself a scrappy and determined underdog. Overcoming a series of missteps — rules breaches that land its skaters in a mock electric chair serving as the penalty box — they surge in the second-half and nearly topple the Texas team.

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