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    1000 Glorious Roller Derby Skate Names

    Women who play roller derby use assumed names called "skate names." See some of the funniest, geekiest—and rudest—in this infographic.

    MOST WOMEN who play roller derby use pseudonyms, or "skate names." They are not the only athletes to assume alternate identities. Yogi Berra, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Dr. J, Sugar Ray Leonard, and even chess champion Garry Kasparov, among others, competed using names they were not born with. And the world's most famous athlete, footballer Edson Arantes do Nascimento, played under a nonsense name from his childhood: Pelé. But roller derby players go further, as this graphical taxonomy of skate names we developed makes clear.

    Some of the names are puns and innuendos, and others refer to body parts, but many are geekier, or deeper, or both. Nearly 20% are inspired by books. A third of these are Harry Potter-related; others are literary, like "Tess of the Derbywheels," "Jane Ire," and "Grace of Wrath," or geeky, such as the four names inspired by The Call of Cthulhu, a gothic horror story written by H.P. Lovecraft in 1926.

    15% are based on movies, and more than a third of those, 108 names, are connected to Star Wars. But, as with books, there are also older, less mainstream inspirations — for example, "Grief Encounter," "Das Booty," and "Rebel Without A Corset."

    10% of the list falls into the "Tech & Geek" category, which includes names inspired by computing ("Paige Not Found," "Syntax Terror," "Ctrl Alt Defeat"), fonts ("Crimes New Roman," "Give 'Em Hell Vetica"), chemistry ("Carmen Die Oxide," "ChLauraform"), and philosophy ("Blockem's Razor"); DC Comics are more popular than Marvel Comics (63 vs 37), and this is driven by just two characters, Harley Quinn (18 names) and Poison Ivy (17 names); women from history provide inspiration ("Emmeline Pancakehurst," "Rolla Parks," "Crusin' B. Anthony") as do iconic present-day women (there are 13 variants of Dita Von Teese and 8 of Taylor Swift, for example) and female fictional characters from both childhood (such as the 12 Pippy Longstockings, 11 Alice in Wonderlands, 10 Cruella De Villes, and 9 Punky Brewsters) and adulthood (14 Katniss Everdeens, 6 Buffy Summers, 5 Holly Golightlys).

    The taxonomy is not just fun to explore: taken as a whole, it shows that the roller derby world is diverse, informed, and creative: a global group of women drawing power and inspiration from everywhere — and especially from other powerful, inspiring women, both real and imagined.

    See the whole thing here.