The Mad Rollin' Dolls are obsessive about what they do, but even more obsessive are the people who love them. Derby doesn't simply draw fans: It draws fanatics.
The 'superfans,' as they've come to be known in leagues across the country, are diehards who never miss a bout. They make ornate signs, and they bring presents; they write poetry and blogs about their favorite players; they create fan clubs and Web sites celebrating their favorite teams. They wear elaborate costumes and paint their faces. They write songs. Sometimes they even propose. One of the Rollin' Dolls' best-known fans, known fondly as 'The Build-a-Bear Guy,' fashions teddy bears in the likeness of his favorite derby girls.
Lisa Lasowski, a local Dolls fan who began the official MySpace fan club for league co-founder Colleen 'Crackerjack' Bell, is the first to admit she's as devoted as derby fans come. In an e-mail correspondence, Lasowski explained what it is about derby that has her so obsessed.
'Here are these strong, sexy women playing a no-holds-barred sport,' she says. 'This gives me a rush and a sense of, 'Hey! I can do anything!''
She adds: 'My life is not all a bowl of cherries, and my job and school put a drain on me. Going to the derby is a way to, at least for a few hours, escape.'