Naptown Roller Girls Get Stockholm Syndrome

Local roller derby team welcomes first European contender for the final home bout of the season.

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Ikea isn’t the only Swedish import coming to Indianapolis this year. Swedish furniture, Swedish meatballs, and … Swedish roller girls? On June 24, Stockholm Roller Derby will strap on their skates and get ready to roll in Elements Financial Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, taking on Indy’s own Naptown Roller Derby. Local skater Emily Udell, aka Vivi Section, said she’s excited for the opportunity to play a team from so far away. “We’ve played teams from Canada, but this is the first time we have had a European contender, and Stockholm Roller Derby brings a lot of skill and intensity.”

Currently ranked by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association as the No. 26 team in the world, Stockholm Roller Derby has a notable reputation to protect. They’re known for their fancy footwork, crushing body slams, and powerful hits. “They’re real movers and shakers in the roller derby world,” says Udell. Naptown, internationally ranked at No. 47, has a lot to gain if they win, and they’re ready to turn up the heat and show off a few tricks of their own in this final home bout of their 11th season.

What to expect: if you choose to stake out a spot in the “suicide seating” (I always do) you’ll be up close and personal for all the action. You’ll see the glimmer of determination in the jammer’s eye as she slides the star onto her helmet. You’ll see the coaches pacing and analyzing every tiny moment of game play. Suicide seating is right on the floor next to the track, and it’s not uncommon for a rogue skater to spin out and end up in your lap. The excitement and energy from fans and players alike at a high-stakes bout like this one is almost tangible. Udell describes Naptown’s crowd as “superfans who are friendly and love to explain the sport.”

Naptown will wear their signature red-and-black-striped knee socks, Stockholm will either be jet-fueled or jet-lagged, and a whole lot of powerful women will come together to share the track — all in the name of roller derby. Also, who doesn’t love gooey concession-stand nachos?

As a roller derby gal myself, I can vouch that a match-up like this doesn’t come around very often. However, watching roller derby for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. I mean, these girls are literally body-slamming each other on skates. But, stay cool—these are professionals. You might see a few get bumps and bruises, but that’s just all in the spirit of derby.

General admission tickets are $17 at the door, and kids age 6 and under get in free. To grab your seat for the action, head to naptownrollerderby.com.

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