PROVIDENCE ROLLER DERBY
Sporting venues don't have to be limited to large corporate-sponsored stands full of foam fingers. Some of the more unique — and irreverent — sports teams can be found right in Lil' Rhody's backyard.
THE BROWN CYCLING CLUB
Over on the East Side, get ready to watch gears ground by the Brown University Cycling Club.
According to Mark Greve, the faculty sponsor of the team, students and faculty compete at the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference each year, the main event for the school. Time trials and road races are some of the events. And though the level of athleticism is impressive, Greve said cycling in the United States is far less popular than in Europe. But at Brown University, the sport was a natural fit.
"Geeks and bikes go hand in hand. Schools that are very intellectual have very good cycling programs," said Greve, citing the universities of Vermont and New Hampshire as strong cycling schools.
The cyclists are far from riding Huffy's. According to Greve, teammates can take downhill curves up to 30 mph. At that speed, the potential for more serious injuries is great.
"There's a lot of road burn. But we had two broken bones last year," said Greve. "When you're shoulder to shoulder, it's a tight scary place."
According to Greve, cyclists won't start seriously training during the academic year until November or December.
UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND (URI) FENCING
Not many sports use swords — but fencing is the exception.
Down in Kingston on the state university campus, students compete using cat-like reflexes and three feet of steel. The university has both a male and female team.
According to Christina Morra, the university's coach, fencing is unique as it requires both the ability to conduct a body with extreme precision and think with a strategic mind.
And having a less than brute athletic training can serve as an advantage.
"Some of the best epee fencers I knew growing up had a strong ballet background. It was beautiful to watch," said Morra.
And while the Olympics airs competitions, it's a sport with misnomers. Morra said people sometimes try to imitate fencing stances, but end up looking like a swashbuckler.
"The most common reaction I get when people find out that I fence is an attempt at "dueling" me," she said.
But fencing doesn't lack competitive flair-ups.
"While fencing has strong etiquette, competitions can definitely be intense, from yelling coaches, screaming fencers, and frequent dramatics."
THE PROVIDENCE KICKBALL LEAGUE (PKL)
Ripping rules straight from the playground, the Providence Kickball League is one of the highlights of Providence's summer sports offerings.
According to Kommissioner Mike Kuhn, lead organizer of the league, anyone can join who is able to compile a team of 15 members. They compete at Armory Park on Saturdays and hold practices weekly. Narragansett Beer sponsors the team; players are often sauced up on company contributions.
"People like stuff to do that doesn't take too much effort. We call ourselves faux athletes," he said.
But the teams don't just have mean thigh muscles and a thirst for Narragansett. Each squad is branded with certain costumes during playtime. An all-girls team named "Stilettos" wears skimpy red apparel; fishnets are commonplace. "Zomboree" is an all zombie cast and "Muscle Justice" dons foam muscles and mullet wigs.