In Egypt, Saturday nights are for staying in — the workweek starts on Sunday. But for the members of CaiRollers, Egypt’s first all-female roller derby team, it’s for skating.
The team’s 20 members meet for three hours every week, at the Cairo International Stadium’s outdoor handball courts, to practice. It’s an aggressive game, requiring full body contact like hip and shoulder checks. But that’s why players like Lina El-Gohary, 27, love it.
“It makes you believe that you’re still able to learn at any age. It empowers you,” she says.
Two American women, Shaneikiah Bickham and Angie Malone-Kaster, brought the sport to Egypt in 2012. They were working in Cairo as teachers and had previous experience playing roller derby in the U.S. They had a hunch their Egyptian girlfriends would dig the game, so they organized a team and started practicing in the school’s parking lot.
The American women were right: Roller derby was a hit. While the game is not commonly known in Egypt — more than half the world’s amateur roller derby teams are from the U.S. — the CaiRollers managed to keep running even after the two co-founders left the country in 2014.
“Jennifer Chu and Maise Huff (aka Knockout and Ithinka Can on the track) have been best friends since their first day of Fresh Meat Orientation for the Eastside Roller Girls, but when they get drafted for two different teams they’ll have to figure out if the bond between them is stronger than the pull of a team when a win is on the line.
You get slammed on the track and slammed in life, and in both cases you have to take your hits and get back up again! “
I watched Whip It the other day and I really wanted to draw a badass roller derby girl, somehow it turned into Ghostbusters fanart?
I tried to come up with derby names for each of them but I’m bad at puns so if you have any suggestions send them my way! I was thinking Abby’s should have something to do with soup, but that’s as far as I got.