Like learning to use chopsticks, roller-skating takes patience, dedication, and a particularly dexterous set of toes. Study a pro’s flexible feet with this Groupon: for $20, you get a roller-derby outing for four to a St. Louis GateKeepers bout at Midwest Sport Hockey in Queeny Park (a $50 total value). The outing includes:
- Four general-admission tickets to any 2012 season bout
- One autographed team photo<p>
Children aged 10 and younger receive free admission.
The wheeled warriors of the St. Louis GateKeepers storm into a fresh season determined to thrill fans of all ages with bone-jarring collisions and supersonic skating maneuvers. Last season, the travel team carried away the gold ball bearing in 14 of its 17 matches. Since springing from a pair of women’s-derby refs who wanted their own slice of flat-track in 2009, the skater-owned-and-operated league has united players of diverse ages and sports backgrounds—bearing names such as High Pains Drifter and Neil Death Experience of last year’s intraleague champs, the South Grand Slammers, under one bruise-colored banner. The male league—a relative oddity in the sport—ditches the fake fights and denim afros of 1970s derbies in favor of unpredictable full-contact competition.
Throughout the two 30-minute halves of each bout, blockers joust elbow-to-elbow as fleet-footed jammers whirl around the track deking past pileups and collecting points. A team of referees closely monitors the fact-paced process, handing out penalties for misconduct and ensuring competitors don’t use the other team’s coach as a battering ram.
St. Louis GateKeepers
In 2009, while refereeing women’s flat-track derby bouts, the founding fathers of the St. Louis GateKeepers realized they wanted a taste of the speed, adrenaline, and action found in competitive roller derby. The pair gathered a crew of like-minded skaters and, in November of that year, the GateKeepers held its first league practice. By the end of their 2012 season, the league had expanded to feature three teams, plus a travel team that defends St. Louis from out-of-town opponents hoping to claim the Arch as a trophy. Despite its expansion, the GateKeepers stands by its original mission to provide a league for the players, by the players, and welcomes men from all walks of life to try on the sport's sweat-soaked jerseys and multicolored bruises.