Sunday, August 25, 2013
An Education in Flat Track Roller Derby
Saturday night Mr. Blackvelvetrav and I attended our very first Roller Derby matches. The pictures above are not great as they were taken with my phone. The evening started with the Idaho Treasure Valley Roller Girls vs. The Walla Walla Sweets. Following the ladies match the men took to the flat ring and it was the Capital City Skull Crushers vs. the Uinta Madness Roller Derby.
Being Roller Derby virgins we were not sure what to expect. About 1/2 way through the first match we realized we desperately needed a program to explain the rules, basics and calls. We also schooled ourselves on the fan conduct rules. Basically after two 30 minute periods the team with the most points wins. But it was learning what a jammer is and who the blockers were and why players were constantly sent to the penalty box that made the program invaluable.
And what did we think of our first experience? To be honest we both thought there would be more skating involved. It seemed to be a lot of pushing, shoving and falling and then one or two skaters (the Jammers) would finally break free and actually make it around the flat rink. Then they would try again to wedge, slam and slither through the mass of falling skaters. With my only experience in the Roller Derby world being through movies like Whip It (2009 Release - http://www.foxsearchlight.com/trailer/111/trailer/) I was expecting a lot more skating. I am thinking that the lack of a physical rink actually makes a huge difference in skating time because you fly out of bounds (or roll out) so easily on the flat track vs. a banked track. Also I think that the flat tracks probably roll slower than the banked tracks.
What I did love about the Roller Derby though was still the rough and tumble attitude of the players (although seeing a roller derby dude in pink fish net stockings was a little distracting - see blurry pictures above). I totally can relate to the aliases, tattoos and crazy outfits. And the attitude that no matter how you look in those tiny shorts and fishnet stocks doesn't matter (even if you are 200+ pounds) because you have the guts to get out there and rock the track no matter your size, age or ethnic background. How can you not admire and cheer for that kind of tude.
And believe it or not (considering my klutzy nature) I am actually decent on both skates and roller blades. The mister sadly is not so gifted. However, seeing half the team walk out during introduction on crutches with surgeries ranging from broken arms to replaced knees and repaired ankles is enough for me to keep my blades for recreation purposes only. Still I can fantasize about traveling with a Roller Derby team going by the name Kick-Ass Kelly!
Treasure Valley Roller Girls: http://www.treasurevalleyrollergirls.net/index.html