Six South Carolina roller derby teams converged at the Citadel’s McAlister Field House Sunday for an intense rivalry cleverly billed as a Black Eye Affair. The first bout of the day had Columbia’s revered QuadSquad facing off against the Palmetto State Roller Girls, who ended up placing fourth. Up next, Charleston’s Lowcountry Highrollers All-Star team took on and beat Greenville’s Derby Dames.
The action continued throughout the day as fans came and went while DJs Cassidy and the Kid spun tunes. By the time the final bout rolled around (pun intended) the Highrollers State Team All Stars and Columbia’s QuadSquad were all that remained. Despite being a championship event, the stands of the venue (which has a capacity of 6,000) had cleared a bit by the end of the night as Columbia’s fierce QuadSquad edged out the Highrollers in an emotional 71-64 nailbiter.
The Columbia team, I later found out, is somewhat legendary, having beat Austin’s famed Lonestar Rollergirls, a team largely credited with helping revive the sport’s popularity. Despite the fierce competition, there was a clear respect and camaraderie between the teams as many of the girls exchanged hugs with their rivals following the bout before heading to the Music Farm after-party.
“To bring it so close, especially with them having beat the Austin team, says a lot about how far we’ve come,” said Allyson Bird, a.k.a. Green-Eyed Sniper. “We’ll definitely be ready for them next year.”