Members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls celebrate the independent spirit of women by hunting as a pack. During high-energy bouts, the team circles around a short track, pushing and shoving as the jammer attempts to score points by skating past the throng. Founded in 2006, the Rollergirls spent one and a half years recruiting and training before completing their first full season, today siccing two competitive teams on other leagues throughout the Midwest’s flat hardwood plains. Though the Rollergirls offer no mercy in the rink, they dedicate their time outside it to helping others within the community. The squad regularly volunteers for activities and events throughout northern Kentucky and help raise funds for local charities. To raise awareness for the sport, the team was also the focus of a 2009 documentary titled Black-n-Bluegrass, which chronicled the players’ regular lives and addressed misconceptions surrounding their beloved pastime.
With 10 national championships to their name and another 76 conference titles to boot, the Cincinnati Bearcats boast more than century of athletic tradition. Though the student athletes thrive in many different sports, the basketball program—which won back-to-back NCAA Championships in 1961 and 1962—is the school's crown jewel. Before embarking on a professional career that earned him a spot among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, The Big O cut his hard-court skills for the Bearcats, averaging a staggering 33.8 points per game in his three years at UC. In more recent years, the Bearcats football team has enjoyed its own run as a true contender, earning bowl berths in 2009, 2011, and 2012. In both 2011 and 2012, the squad pounced on their postseason opponents, taking home glittering trophies to use as tackling dummies in training camp.
Crossing the Ohio River on the north side of Louisville, it’s impossible not to notice the glassy façade of the KFC Yum! Center right on the river, a gleaming, $238 million cathedral to the University of Louisville’s flagship sport: basketball. Perennial powerhouses in both the men’s and women’s competition, Louisville showcases its fast-paced brand of basketball to one of the most loyal fanbases and student bodies in the country. While hoops may be king—the men’s basketball squad has won the school its two only NCAA Championships—the Cardinals take pride in a host of distinguished sports, including a football team that won both the Big East Conference and the Orange Bowl in 2006, leading the basketball team to briefly experiment with wearing helmets and cleats.
Baseball in Louisville dates back to 1876 when the Louisville Grays began playing as part of the National League. Soon after the turn of the 20th century, minor league baseball arrived in Derby City and for 70 years, the Louisville Colonels commanded it. Their departure in 1972, however, led to a period of inactivity, as well as a period of unemployed umpires roaming the city shouting "SAFE!" at landing birds. Ten years later, baseball returned with the arrival of the Louisville Redbirds, who eventually became the RiverBats in 1998, and simply the Bats in 2002. Over the years this franchise has spent time as the affiliate of three big league teams: the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers, and its current affiliate, the Cincinnati Reds.
Harlem Globetrotters Playing Three-on-Five
Since forming in the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have continued to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2014 tour, a rotating [roster](http://gr.pn/PHdb6w) of Globetrotter favorites?including three female players?takes to the hardwood each game. Spectators might spot veteran guard [TNT](http://gr.pn/rOe0P4) sharing a behind-the-back pass with dunker [Quake](http://gr.pn/QTIGVh), whose high jump once cleared 7 feet, cruelly dashing his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with 5-foot-2 [Too Tall](http://gr.pn/PHdmPh) and 7-foot-4 [Stretch](http://gr.pn/1dYrbUt), the team?s tallest member. During each Globetrotters game, youngsters laugh along and witness the jovial jocks performing classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti. To infuse their visits with an extra shot of unpredictability, the Globetrotters also let fans in each city vote on special rules for every game; past rules have included the use of a four-point shot and the installation of a penalty box. Over the years, similar antics have followed the Globetrotters around the world, including to 122 countries and territories and all six continents on which basketballs grow naturally. The Globetrotters? extensive travels haven?t gone unnoticed: they?re one of the few teams to earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as ambassadors of the sport.
This season, Freedom Hall's Nathan Manilow Theatre paints the south suburbs with the energetic horns of a New Orleans brass band and an intoxicating blend of ancient and contemporary African dance. Led by the tuba of Bennie “Big Bennie” Pete, the Hot 8 Brass Band deals in down-home Delta sounds blared from Terrell “Burger” Batiste’s trumpet, Edward “Juicy” Jackson’s trombone, and a trio of backup-singing oyster po boys. All natives of New Orleans, the band's members cultivated calluses and cred by hitting the streets for Second Line parades and at the city’s Jazz & Heritage Festival. Their post-Katrina efforts to aid displaced communities caught national attention in Spike Lee's documentary When the Levees Broke.