3B and H pencils, colored in Photoshop
Al and I went with friends Sunday to a roller derby bout, to support my friend Laurie, a referee for the Dominion Derby Girls.
I've watched a few episodes of A&E's Rollergirls, but I have absolutely no recollection of watching roller derby on television when I was little, although people tell me it was there (I vividly remember watching Prince Charles' and Princess Diana's wedding, though, through the holes in the afghan, when I was supposed to be sleeping on the babysitter's couch. Oh, sorry. I digress.). I don't remember hearing much about roller derby at all, in fact. Didn't even know that, not only did Jim Croce record a song called "Roller Derby Queen," but I actually already have it on CD.
To me, it's a new sport, even if it actually dates back to the 1930s. So I had expectations, from the A&E show, but really no idea what to expect (that isn't a contradiction in my head). Some of my expectations, such as seeing lots of tattoos and some funky clothes, were met, although it was cool to discover that the crowd was actually wildly varied in age, race and "type," from the mainstream to the eccentric.
The sport, though, was, well, far more intense than I dreamed, even having heard from Laurie about the demanding workouts they go through four or so days a week. (This isn't meant to be a slight to roller derby. Keep in mind that my absolute favorite sport is baseball, where they sit around a lot of the time and stand around a lot of the time and run and throw every once in a while.)
Let me just say, wow. It's sort of like basketball, in that they don't stop very often. It's sort of like football, in that they are trying to get past each other and there's a lot of physical contact. It's sort of like Olympic speed skating, in that some of these girls are wicked fast. And then, I could make some hockey comparisons, too. But really, roller derby is quite unique. And the endurance of these athletes is awe-inspiring (as is the endurance of the refs, who must skate the entire time, unlike the competitors, who swap in and out with their teammates).
Not only that, but they can cross their feet over. I never could get the hang of that. Much less while looking backwards over my shoulder while simultaneously pulling my teammate through the pack. Quite impressive.
If there are bouts in your area, go. The rules seemed a bit tricky, at first, but eventually, they made sense. I understood what was going on and got into the cheering very quickly. I can't wait to go again.