Bomb(ers) away: Roller Derby 2.0

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By G. Martinez Cabrera

I can see the Kezar Pavilion from my bedroom window. It isn’t a very attractive building. Its Spanish red tiles, chipped peach paint, and round arched entranceway make it look a little bit like those old stand-alone Taco Bells that were around in the ‘70s. As with a lot of buildings in big cities, you could pass by it a million times and never think about why it exists or why it matters or who it matters to. But like any old gym, long faded dreams of glory are everywhere in Kezar. You just have to know where to look.

This became clear to me after spending some time with members of the San Francisco Bay Bombers. If you’re of a certain age, you might remember the name. In the ‘70s, the Bombers playing at Kezar was an Event with a capital “E”. Roller derby was as big then as any other sport — some say bigger. Coaches and team managers who’ve been around the game for decades are quick to explain that in its heyday, the Bombers would get more television viewers for its games than the A’s, the Raiders, or the 49ers.

From the mouths of babes ... and Bombers. Video by Jamie Moore and G. Martinez Cabrera.

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