We aren't giving the Philly Roller Girls a CP Choice Award because they fit snugly into the keep-Philly-weird thing we're going for as a paper. Screw that. We're giving it to them because they're trading in their freak queen crowns and imparting the sport of roller derby with more clout.
How? For one, they're no longer priced out of Center City, moving from the SportsPlex in the Northeast to the 23rd Street Armory where they consistently sell out to crowds of 700 (and where they'll roll Oct. 3 at 5 p.m., 22 S. 23rd St., phillyrollerderby.com).
Plus, they're kicking fishnetted booty. Their travel team, the Liberty Belles, is first in the U.S. with a 9-1 record; that single loss is what player Vanessa Jackson explains as "some Art of Warfare-type shit" that they used on Baltimore's Charm City Roller Girls. "We didn't play six of our All-Stars," she says, in order to keep their "A-game" under wraps for the Eastern Division Championship — where Philly won by more than 100 points.
Yet, as we approach the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's national championships in November — in Philly — the Belles still can't convince venues like the Liacouras or Wachovia Center that an all-female sport without cleats, a ball or jerseys is widely liked. "We're hoping that after we have the nationals at the Convention Center under our belt," says Jackson, "they'll know that we can pull it off." They're favored to win there, which shouldn't hurt.
So when they get whatever arena they want next year, and they're as popular as a puppy cam, we'll say we told you so.
Honorable Mention: Sports and recreation
Ruben Amaro Jr.
'While we wondered if the Phillies GM could fill the shoes of sage Pat Gillick, he was calculating by just how much he'd outperform him.
Threw caution to the wind and signed the most unpopular football player alive. A great sports move, though the chips are not done falling on this one.
Based at Christopher Columbus Charter, she organized Philly's charter schools into a much-needed athletic league.
Philly Naked Bike Ride
Got more than 1,000 cyclists to brave shame and chafing. Philly was never, ever more aware of its cyclists than on Sept. 6, 2009.