On the list of all-time classic pairings, rollergirls and tattoos has to be pretty close to the top. Derby fans may get glimpses of tattoos as their favorite rollergirls speed around the track, but they don’t always get to hear the stories behind them. We asked some of your Atlanta Rollergirls to show us their tattoos and tell us a little about what they mean to them.
Lez Dispenser (DSDG, Toxic Shocks):
This is my derby tattoo. It’s a bird (in Denim Demons colors) with a turbonegro hat and it has Hank eyes. I used to roll out with a fake bird on my shoulder at every Denim Demons bout. It stemmed from the “put-a-bird-on-it” joke. 4 years of rolling out with my bird before the skakeup. Now I’ll always have the bird with me and a reminder of my Demon days.
Nutella Ferrero (Rumble Bs, Denim Demons):
This is Ganesha, a Hindu deity. Remover of obstacles and provider of wisdom. It is also a cover up from a previous tattoo. I got my Ganesha on Mother’s Day 2003 in honor and memory of my mom who worked extremely hard to help me go to school and live some of the dreams she wasn’t able to do herself. She was a constant source of wisdom and a remover of obstacles.
Hale Damage (Jukes of Hazzard, Denim Demons):
It just so happens my first ever tattoo is in fact a derby tattoo. It’s on my left forearm, strategically placed so it can be seen in between my wrist guard and elbow pad. It’s the original Atlanta Derby Brats logo, since I started my derby career with them at their birth in 2010 and continued there for 5 years it felt right to get the logo to remind me where I came from after I turned 18 and aged out.
Rosie Derivator (Rumble Bs, Denim Demons):
#1: When most people think of a turning point in their lives, they think of rebirth and subsequently phoenixes. I thought “this is the point where I came back to life, so obviously I need a zombie, right?” Derby was the thing that brought me back to life during/after a horrible career and marriage. So I wanted my zombie pinup on my arm to remind me of that.
#2: When you spend most of your life being a nerd/bookworm, it never really occurs to you that eventually you will play a sport with a playoff-level team. Competing nationally with Jacksonville are some of my favorite memories of derby. We referred to our team spirit as “Sparkles Momentum” and she will always be a reminder of coming much further than I ever thought possible.
#3: This should have been my first derby tattoo, but timing made it my third. My derby wife (Robin Gunshows of the Marble Falls NightMares) and I met in Virginia in 2009, where we both began our derby journey. Life moved her to Texas and me to Florida. She came through Atlanta last year, heading back to VA for a class reunion, and we were finally able to get our derby wife tattoos. Six years (and many miles) into this crazy journey, and she’s still the best and most wonderful wifey a derby girl could ask for
Ida Backoff (Jukes of Hazzard, Denim Demons):
My arm is inspired by my grandmother Ida. It is a reflection of one of her most favorite activities, gardening. She lived in a home in Morris Park area of the Bronx, as urban as urban can be. But the backyard was an oasis. My fondest child hood memories are of playing in her flower garden. The flowers in my tattoo represent her most favorite (and now mine which I keep in my own garden), peony, gerba daisy and zinia. Although not a garden flower I also added her most favorite African violet. As with my derby name I get to carry my grandmother with me everywhere. I am reminded of the lessons she taught me and all of our memories. She is with me always.
Rage Appropriate (skating official):
I have this derby related tattoo that my crew got at the World Cup last year the night before we officiated the championship bout between Team USA and England!
Nora Gretz (Rumble Bs, Toxic Shocks):
I knew I wanted a pinup derby girl when I joined roller derby and after six seasons I thought it was time. She wears our ARG uniform and in a art nouveau style has all of the ARG teams surrounding her. From left to right… Demons, Stix, Sakes, Shocks, Bs, DSDG… And a red feather for the Atlanta Men’s Roller Derby team who I help coach.
Do you have any derby tattoos of your own? We’d love to see them in the comments!