Sunday, May 07, 2006

Derby Girls

Roller Derby
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
I’ve never liked or been good at competitive sports, but if I were 15 years younger and fearless instead of quivering and lily-livered, I’d have loved to be out skating with any one of Portland’s Rose City Rollers teams at the roller derby last night: the Break-Neck Betties, the Guns ‘N Rollers, the High Rollers, or the Heartless Heathers. They wear miniskirts, fishnets, and ruffled panties with heavy-duty kneepads, elbow pads, and helmets. They wear old school skates (not blades). They have names like Apocalipstick, Black Sabbatha, Wreckingdoll, and Magnet Mad Atom. They skate on unforgiving concrete. They knock each other down. They get right back up* and scramble to rejoin the pack. They work their way to the front, elbows and hips slamming into opponents, sending them sprawling ass over teakettle into the crowd. They don’t care if hundreds of people see their underpants. They drink PBR (natch). In short, these girls are scrappy! I love it!

This kind of thing is right up my alley. I screamed til I was hoarse; I think that’s the first time I’ve ever done anything more than politely clap at a sporting event. I was rooting for the Heartless Heathers (motto: “We come from the land of the ice and snow.”**), because an acquaintance of mine is a Heartless Heather. It was thrilling to see her out on the floor and to discover that she is one of the key members of the team. She’s super focused and solid out there; unlike most of the other girls, she rarely got taken down. Very few girls were able to pass her and, if they tried, she usually managed a definitive smackdown, without causing herself even a teensy momentum-diminishing wobble.

I was in awe—I had no idea she was such a tough girl. She was kicking ass and taking names, and, not surprisingly, the Heathers won handily, in no small part due to her skills as a skater and palooka. What is surprising is that off skates she’s the sweetest, most laidback person you can imagine. She’s always laughing. However, I do recall that she once brought a packet of Bertie Bott’s Jelly Beans to a party and insisted that we all try at least one. She, herself, downed several of the nastier ones, like vomit, earwax, and earthworm, which I think clearly demonstrates the kind of moxie she’s got. I wussed out and only tried the dirt flavor. See? I would totally not make the grade as a derby girl.

*One girl didn’t get back up, but that was because her nose was broken.
**I, of course, approve of the nod to Led Zeppelin.


Post a Comment

<< Home