I play for NoTown, so you know that this had to be one of my favorite things about Fresno. In fact, playing derby has made me even more keenly aware of my love for this place.
That said, I can very confidently say that Fresno loves Roller Derby, enough to support two teams in numbers that surpass what many other cities pull in. Last season both teams were able to play to crowds of at least 500, and up to 900. The fans cheer, get involved and with each bout, are learning the game more and more. Roller derby is a very in your face (in your lap, if you sit in the suicide seats on the ground by the track) fast paced sport, its just as athletic and physical as it is entertaining. Its pretty exhilarating to watch and easy to get involved in, even if you still haven't learned all the rules. Its even more exciting to play.
When I've traveled to out of town bouts, even though the fans are engaged, they never seem to be there in mass like our home bouts. My theory is that Fresno just gets behind its sports teams. The Monsters Hockey team is new, but already has a great and loyal following. During any season, you will find people wearing Grizzlies hats, and every sport from Fresno State is supported year round, lots and lots of red in our city. Its pretty sweet to live in a city that backs up their teams.
Its just cool that Fresno has so many sports options. I actually never liked sports until I got involved with roller derby in 2006, but I found one I was able to do despite my complete lack of grace. Now I watch football, baseball and hockey without bringing something else to do (I used to bring philosophy homework with me to Angels and Lakers games when I lived in OC) and I get into the games. Also, if Fresno wasn't a place conducive to roller derby, I'd never have been able to stomach falling in love with a Raiders and Giants fan meathead! Thanks Fresno for helping me to appreciate sports and athletics. Without you, I wouldn't have my pretty babies.
(If you haven't seen a Roller Derby bout, NoTown is playing in Paso Robles vs Central Coast Roller Derby on January 16. We all love that Fresno is only a few hours away from everywhere, right? If you can't make that, our home season starts in February, the season schedule should be up soon! CCAD has a pretty full season as well!)