Roller Derby is damn good therapy. I've been a whiny, soggy mess since my procedures, doing a really spectacular job of feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity. Then a friend DRAGGED me to a roller derby match and I'm feeling remarkably better. Roller derby is like no other show on Earth...
My friend from Sunday School has been a big support to me, checking in via text several times a week. It's always nice to know someone is thinking of you. So I get this text on Friday afternoon:
“Would you consider doing something kinda crazy with me tomorrow night?”
At first I think hell no, I want to lie in my bed, watch cooking and knit. But I answer,
“Depends on how close the porta-potties are...I used to be a let's go crazy girl...”
“Roller derby, indoors, at the county fairgrounds.”
We make plans. I follow through. We have some good-natured text banter before she picks me up about which Harley she's driving and if it's too hot for my leathers, at which point she confesses MINIVAN. I counter with PRISON VAN, but we end up settling for minivan and the fact that I have a tattoo.
The spectators at roller derby are some of the best people watching you will find. ANY form of clothing (or lack thereof) is acceptable. The Derby girls, our team being the Boulder County Bombers, wear fishnet stockings (in all shades...even rainbow), tiny, tiny shorts, tank tops with their derby name, and lots of safety gear.
Derby names must be unique to each player and there is a worldwide registry so that you don't take someone else's clever idea. They range from puns to raunchy. Here are a few of the tamer examples:
You get the idea. What you might not know is that there IS strategy to the game. There are jammers (who score the points) and the other four players play both offense (trying to clear a path for their jammer to lap the other and hence score) and defense (trying to block the opposing jammer from doing the same). Bouts are played in short “jams”, about two minutes long, and there are two halves, about 30 minutes each. The clock stops a lot for infractions.
It's a blast to watch – fast-moving, and it takes 14 referees (not kidding, I took a picture) (I took all the pictures: photo credit: me) to keep it all legal. They have “time out” just like ice-hockey. Of course there's pushing and shoving, but there are rules about which body parts can be used for this.
(that would be the referees being sworn in before the match)
(that's the opposing team, we were behind their bench)
All in all, a completely enjoyable experience. I highly recommend it if you have the means and opportunity. After all, as you can see, it's open to girls of ALL sizes.