SANTA CRUZ -- One of Santa Cruz's roller derby teams had a bit of star power added to their weekend home game against its Oakland rivals.
While having movie star Matt Damon and his family and friends in the bleachers at the Kaiser Permanente Arena on Saturday night did not push the team to victory, there were still plenty of smiles to go around.
Damon was apparently rooting particularly for Boardwalk Bombshells co-captain Eileen Jacinto Hill, otherwise known as "Sharon D. Payne," even sporting a black T-shirt depicting Hill in her Derby Girls uniform.
Harbor Hellcats' Courtney Scallan, aka "Hellth Hazard," was at Saturday's bout, but said she was bleachers away from Damon and his entourage.
"I heard he said this was the best bout he'd seen so far. It was cool," Scallan said. "I don't know how many people recognized him. I didn't get to see him, though, (but) I could see Sharon's face on all of their T-shirts." Scallan said Damon and his wife, Luciana Barroso, a friend of Hill's, flew up from Southern California for the match.
This is not the first time that Damon has attended a Santa Cruz Derby Girls game, though it might be the first in Santa Cruz. Damon is also featured in a photograph with the 2011 Hellcats in their season opener against Mission City's Brawlin' Betties in Santa Barbara on the Derby Girls' website (http://santacruzderbygirls.org).
Danny Keith, Santa Cruz Warriors' corporate sponsorships director, was working at the arena during the Derby Girls game and paid a quick visit to welcome Damon, who seemed "amped" about the competition against the Oakland Outlaws.
"I think it's indicative that things are changing here in Santa Cruz," Keith said. "We've been having quite a few celebrity sightings here now."
Keith said that while some in the audience were "slightly starstruck" over Damon's presence, "for the most part everybody was pretty much leaving him alone. He was able to just kind of be a normal person."
Contact Jessica A. York at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at Twitter @ReporterJess.