IN PHOTOS: Long Beach Roller Derby reunites with 10-year anniversary scrimmage

The pioneers of the Long Beach Roller Derby team entered the Belmont Shore rink wearing their bomber jackets on a sizzling Saturday. Despite the inevitable discombobulation that comes about from a six-year hiatus, the rollergirls all stood confident and ready in their starting positions.

The team’s original referee, Major Muff, sounded her whistle, and the jam began.

Referee Major Muff pointing at a jammer during the scrimmage with the start and end whistle ready at the Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

This warm Saturday morning marked the first reunion since the original derby team of Long Beach, LBRD, disbanded in 2012. The idea had been brought about by a simple Facebook reminder from Sara Blanche Scanlon, known on the track as Blanche Deathreaux, who contacted her former teammates to organize the get-together.

“It was an escape from all the problems we were having in our lives at the time,” said Anita Bonghit, one of nine founding members of LBRD, looking back at the early days of the team, before their lives headed in different directions. “We would just skate and have a good time.”

The name, by the way, came from the night of her first official game when she took a bad hit on the track and an audience member heckled, “she needs a bong hit.”

Though the match was not free of wipeouts and collisions, the skaters showed off their toughness and durability without a second thought at the Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

The original LBRD team, formed in 2010, grew to be more than simply a side hobby. “It all started in a church parking lot and ended up in the Spruce Goose Dome and selling out 2,000 seats,” Scanlon said. “It was huge just within a year’s time.”

“Long Beach was really receptive to the revival of roller derby back in 2009. Long Beach loved it,” said Major Muff. “There was a show to it. We were punk rock characters. This made it real entertainment.”

The nine founding members of the LBRD team describe their league as a sisterhood and a community they never knew they needed.

Blanche Deathereaux and Narlaee embrace once they see each other at the 10 year reunion. At the Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

One member, known on the track as Legs, remembers joining the team before she even knew how to skate.

“When I met them, everything came together perfectly; it’s like a fairytale,” Legs said. Despite being the newbie at one point, Legs now skates for the world-renowned Moxi Skate Team and is involved in skating in all aspects of her life.

Despite the skaters’ battle scars from their time on the track, they reunited once again to stay true to their roots and keep their skate culture alive.

The Long Beach Roller Derby team splits up in black and white teams, but with jokes and laughter there was more camaraderie in the air than competition. Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

An LBRD player picks herself up on her Riedell Derby Skates during the scrimmage at the Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

Right to left, Blanche Deathereaux and Legs in position to block the black team’s jammer. Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

Even hard falls to the pavement drew laughter from Legs and Blanche Deathereaux at the Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

The jammer speeds down the track at the Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

The white team and black team shake hands after the game at the Belmont Shore Roller Rink, Saturday, November 23, 2019. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

Sara Blanche Scanlon aka Blanche Deathereaux holding up the flyer to the first game LBRD ever played back in 2010 and wearing the first ever T-shirt design created by the team. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

Roller skaters warming up before their scrimmage during the Long Beach Roller Derby 10 year reunion at the Belmont Shore Rink. Photo by Sarahi Apaez.

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Sarahi Apaez is a Long Beach Post contributor who centers her reporting skills on photographs and videos. When she’s not focusing her lens, she’s focusing her balance as she bombs down the boulevards of Long Beach’s streets on her roller skates.
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