Saturday, March 12, 2011

Personal Post: My Adventure with Roller Derby

Guys, I don't think I've spoken about this in a public forum before.  I absolutely loved the movie Whip It.

It's just good YA and a great look at femininity.  Plus, the movie made me want to skate in a roller derby.  I had fantasies of skating, forcing people of the track, hearing people cheer as I rolled past with some chart-topping hip-hop playing in the background.  In these fantasies I don't fall.  I just knock people down and then pump my fist in the air to the sound of cheering.  It's a fun fantasy.

But if my one attempt at roller skating since the age of ten has taught me anything, if I ever actually tried to participate in a roller derby, I'd be the person who would have to crawl off the track while begging for the refs to make it stop.  When I tried to skate over the summer, my body had the weird sensation that roller skating was familiar, that I should have been able to take off and fly around the rink, weaving around obstacles.  My mind and lack of balance disagreed.  I didn't fall, but I *did* look ridiculous, like the stupid goose by the river who honks a lot but can't quite make it off the ground when the others take off that you pity and that you feel fairly certain won't be able to fly south for the winter with all of the more coordinated geese, that it'll suffer through the early part of winter, only to starve and die and then have its carcass freeze in the cold and have people pass by it on some nature trail and say, "Awwww, poor thing," but moments later they're thinking about something else, the dead goose forgotten.

I would be that goose.

Nonetheless, when somebody in my program suggested several of us avoid thinking about our finals or our dissertations by watching the opening game of the Ohio Roller Girls.  I jumped on the opportunity, my declaration of "I loved Whip It!" was met with "OMG!  US TOO!"

But despite my repeated viewings, once I arrived at the Ohio Expo Center and the first derby began, I quickly realized I did not know much about the sport.  I especially didn't know what all of the refs' hand gestures meant.  Those gestures seemed important to understanding the game.

If I am ever to become a roller derby skater, I will *for sure* need to figure out what the refs' gestures mean.

But for the time being, I decided to be content with sitting in the front row on the floor beside the track, hoping somebody will have a dramatic (but painless!) fall right in front of me (but not so dramatic that they slide/fall/fly into me) so that I can capture it for all of forever-ness.

And that brings us to the point of this post.  Pictures:

I'll admit, I'll probably still have fantasies of being on a roller derby team.  It's a nice distraction from my dissertation.  But considering that I cringed every time one of these players fell, that I like the *thought* of being aggressive but don't actually like *being* aggressive, that I hate pain and that I can't skate, I think I'll be staying on the sideline.

With my camera.

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