Double Crossers, Manic Attackers win season opener

By JeffGraveline

A retro sport made its way to Chicago’s Congress Theater in 2005 and has since been carving a name for itself amongst major sports in the city. As the Windy City Rollers quickly found their niche in the Chicago sports market, the league realized it would need more space to accommodate its fans. After moving to Cicero Stadium in suburban Cicero, in 2006, they finally found a permanent home at the Universty of Illinois Chicago Pavilion in 2008.

As the Rollers settle into their new digs, crowds continue to come in droves to their home arena. Fans come to see flat track roller derby action between the four home teams that comprise the Windy City Rollers: The Fury, Manic Attackers, Hell’s Belles and Double Crossers. Along with the four home teams, the Windy City Rollers field a developmental team, the Haymarket Rioters, and two travel teams, WCR All-Stars and Second Wind.

Unlike previous roller derby incarnations, the only fake thing about the Rollers are their names. The bouts don’t have predetermined winners or moves, and unlike movies such as “Whip It,” where the action was staged, people really can get hurt.

“[Working on ‘Whip It’] was a lot of fun,” said Jackie Daniels, a current Fury player and “Whip It” extra. “Playing derby with an outcome and a mix of skaters and actresses was fun … [But] obviously because it has to have a certain outcome [it was different].”

For the first bouts of the new season, which started Jan. 30, the Rollers pitted the Hell’s Belles against the Double Crossers and Manic Attackers against The Fury. The 3,977 derby fans filed into the arena, setting a Windy City Rollers attendance record and filling the lower bowl of the UIC Pavilion.

The bouts featured an eclectic mix of skill levels from the participating skaters. Many were in their first bout ever, while some had been speeding along the flat-topped track for years, to the delight of fans and friends.

“All of my friends think it’s pretty awesome,” said Nina Millimeter, a member of the Double Crossers. “It’s really rare that I run into anybody who says, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s so dangerous! You shouldn’t do that,’ or whatever. Usually people who I come across and find out I play roller derby are like, ‘That is so cool!’”

The new season saw Hell’s Belles taking a fall from their lofty perch last season, when the team battled for the Ivy King Cup championship against the Manic Attackers. Hell’s Belles lost their core group of skaters—and looked every bit of it—as they lost to the Double Crossers, 171-48.

The Double Crossers were led by Millimeter, named the player of the game. Millimeter was one of several Crossers who had double figures in blocks during the bout.

“I moved up [to Chicago] and I heard about this roller derby thing,” Millimeter said. “It seemed like it would be a lot of fun, and it was a lot of fun, so I’ve been doing it since.”

The Crossers got out to an extremely fast start in the bout, taking a 18-0 lead. However, Hell’s Belles jammer Deb Autry rolled up 14 big points in one jam, pulling to within four points.

Unfortunately for the Belles, they would never come any closer to the Crossers. As the Crossers pulled away in the bout, the Belles were helpless to stop the more experienced team from imposing their will during every jam.

In the second half, things went from bad to worse for the young Belles team. The Double Crossers passed the 100 point barrier seven minutes into the half and went on to notch another 71 points in the contest.

The hole the Belles dug for themselves proved to be too deep and the Crossers’ experience too much as they went on to win 171-48.

In the second match of the night, The Fury took on the defending Ivy King Cup champion, Manic Attackers, who were skating with a short bench for the night. Unlike the first bout of the night, the two evenly- matched teams gave the crowd a tightly contested matchup.

The Attackers built an early lead, up 17 points halfway through the first half, but The Fury wouldn’t go away and slowly clawed their way back to 39-33 at the half.

In the second half, the Attackers ballooned to 29 points and put The Fury away. The Manic Attackers started their title defense right, taking the 101-83 victory.

“We had a short bench, so everybody was playing three or four jams in a row,” Beth Amphetamine of the Manic Attackers said. “I was just very proud of my team for getting through it and pulling it out. That was one of the closest games we’ve had in a year and half, The Fury did a great job.”

For more information about the Windy City Rollers, ticket information, or tryout dates and times visit