There are four Jeerleader squads in total -- The Bronx’s Backseat Betties, Brooklyn’s Bomb Squad, Manhattan’s Mayhem Misfits, and Queens’ Royal Pains. The squads cheer for the Gotham Girls’ home leagues -- Bronx Gridlock, Brooklyn Bombshells, Manhattan Mayhem, and Queens of Pain, respectively, as they compete for the league title.
Although the Jeerleaders might cheer for competing teams, when the bouts are over, the competitive spirit of derby gives way to their bond. Even in the off-season, they travel together, text constantly, and have sleepovers. “This is a community that welcomes absolutely everyone,” says Saribel “Daisy Blitzroy” Pages, a bookseller and co-captain of the Brooklyn Bombers. “All of us are misfits in our own kind of way.”
When the 2019 Gotham Girls Roller Derby season starts next spring, the new Jeerleaders will have polished up their Liberty poses and learned some new routines. They’ll have bought their pom-poms (about $35), paid their dues (about $150, 90% of which goes to studio space, 10% of which goes to candy), learned the ins and outs of roller derby, and gotten to know their new teammates.
Seeing the Jeerleaders at a Gotham Girls Roller Derby bout makes even the cheerless want to shake their pom-poms. “If you look around, everyone is so different,” says Celina “Spiked Honey” Flores, who works as a waitress and bartender when she’s not cheering with the Backseat Betties. “Everyone has different backgrounds, different jobs, different looks, different sizes. Derby’s the same thing. Can you do it? C’mere. Do you love it? Let’s roll.”