Sara Riney 

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Some folks may dis rollerblades by calling them fruity boots, but trashing the classic roller skates of the Atlanta Rollergirls league would take a lot more balls. Sara Riney, aka Hot Legs Hooligan, not only skates but helps market the fledgling league, sits on the national public relations committee for the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, and maintains websites for local bands Nine Pound Hammer and Nashville Pussy.

The Atlanta Rollergirls league started in November 2004, and is just one of 40 flat-track roller derby leagues in the country. That means, for those who watch A&E’s “Rollergirls,” they don’t skate on crazy banked tracks. (Those things cost lots of money!) According to Riney, one of the challenges of starting a new roller derby league was explaining to folks what roller derby is. An ultra-simplified breakdown is that two teams of five ladies (one pivot, three blockers, and one jammer) skate in a series of races called “jams.” During a jam, the teams skate in a pack lead by the pivots. Jammers start behind the pack and must work through the blockers to lap the opposing team’s pivot and score points. “We do the old-school-style roller derby, but we’ve updated it. The uniforms are much more punk rock and everything’s much more tongue-in-cheek,” Riney says. Players assume personas — Demi Gore, Venus Fly Tramp, Betty Boot — much like professional wrestlers but with more sass and no testosterone. But when a rollergirl falls or fights, it’s real. From zero players in 2004 to 60 players for the upcoming season, the league has closed recruiting for now and has unveiled a new team, the Toxic Shocks, which Riney skates on. The new season kicks off March 12, with regular matches the second Sunday of every month (check www.atlantarollergirls.com for schedule).

Hear more from Sara as she shares how local bands got her into skating and shares a Nine Pound Hammer track on this week’s “Earshot Atlanta” (www.earshotatlanta.com).

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