Memphis Roller Derby seeks new home in Midtown
By Colleen Smith
[singlepic id=103 w=320 h=240 mode=web20 float=right]For nearly two years, Memphis Roller Derby has practiced and bouted at the “House of Bruise” (the Youth Building at the Mid-South Fairgrounds), and at the end of February, we must say goodbye to it. The City plans to demolish the building sometime in March. We will be returning to our old stomping grounds, FunQuest in Collierville, for our February 13th bout. Midtown, specifically Cooper-Young, has been the ideal location for our league. It’s easily accessible to our league members and our fans and definitely contributed to our success these past two seasons. We will miss the Fairgrounds, we will miss being members of the Cooper-Young Business Association, and we will miss the after-practice hang-outs in Cooper-Young.
There are several promising leads in our re-location. We’ve contacted WellWorx gym, the Naval Base in Millington, and the indoor sportsplex on Willet, just to name a few. The City of Memphis is also trying to do what they can to help us find a new home. Recently, the Center City Commission also took interest in our plight. I am amazed at (and proud of) the effort our league has shown in resolving the dilemma. We are not professional athletes, we are not paid to do this, and yet we run every aspect of the organization by ourselves. We all have jobs and other non-derby priorities, yet somehow manage to search the city, meet with potential property owners/managers, and begin negotiations.
Ideally we would like to stay in Midtown. If anyone knows of an available space, here are some of our requirements:
Our track alone is 88’ x 53’, but we need an additional 10 feet around the perimeter for insurance purposes. That would total about 7,900 square feet. However, we also need room for benches, seating, and merchandise sales so, after factoring all that in, it comes to 12,000-15,000 square feet total. An open expanse building with no support poles is ideal. I can tell you from experience that those are no fun to run into when you get blocked out of bounds during a game! In addition to those requirements, we would need plenty of parking, good bathrooms, a skate-able floor, heat and A/C, and the ability to sell beer.
Thanks Cooper-Young for all the support you’ve shown us! Don’t miss our next bout. I know it’s a chore to leave the Parkways, but head out to Collierville and support your local roller girls! Check out both our website, www.memphisrollerderby.com, and our fan page on Facebook.
Colleen Smith runs Tsunami Restaurant with her husband, Ben Smith. She is a mother of three children, is a papermaker, and skates for two of Memphis Roller Derby’s teams: the Memphis Hustlin’ Rollers and the Angels of Death.