Have you ever been in a Roller Derby rink? I have, and it's fucking terrifying. I lasted two minutes into tryouts before I sidelined myself for being a big baby who was more interested in eating hot dogs and gossiping. So anyway, all the props in the world to the ladies who get out there and circle that big-ass, scary-ass rink while competing in a live action Hunger Games. One of the newest members of the daredevil rollergirls rank is also Egypt's first and only team, the Cairollers. Founded in Sept 2012, these eleven superheroes are making it work for the first time in a new town. And, as anyone who's ever been new at school, you know that shit ain't easy.
The Cairollers are composed of about eight skaters, one coach and two volunteers. "Skaters include Egyptian natives, Egyptians with dual citizenship who are third world kids having grown up around the world, and some ex-pats from other parts of the world including America and Argentina. Our volunteer—hopefully future refs—are equally as diverse from Africa and America. Our belief and value systems range from Muslim to Christian, Agnostic to Buddhist. We range from teachers and nonprofit workers to female entrepreneurs." Cool.
Their two biggest challenges? Getting gear into Egypt and trying to figure out how to promote rollergirls within the culture without attracting discrimination and negative attention. But nothing is standing between these women and the need for speed! And potential broken noses!
As for what they hope to achieve in Cairo, league cofounder Indie Hannah breaks it down:
We would like to build a sustainable and large inter-league roller derby team of skaters, referees and officials. We envision a large recruitment with several inter-league teams that play against each other in Cairo.
This would require partnerships for gear and for venues. We would love to host other leagues around the region or world and also travel to play up and coming teams in order to grow and obtain competitive strategies and skills. We want a solid base for training, growth and competitive play. We have talked about fundraising to help support our travel and growth but also to provide scholarships for locals who want to skate but can not afford gear. Poverty is very high here. Egyptian pounds don't have the same weight as being paid in USD or other monies. We have talked about using this program to eventually work on the empowerment of girls in Egypt.
I'm so into it, empowerment through sports is pretty much always a great idea. Maybe I'll try my luck in the ring again, this time with some more kneepads, fewer hot dogs, and a little more sassitude (that's attitude mixed with sass, look it up). Good luck, Cairollers! And as Commenter FN_Zebra says, "Allahu Akbar! Derby women are mighty!"