Everywhere I go, I get the same question: “Is roller derby real?” I get it. I was born in 1972 and I am fully aware of why the people my age and older ask these questions.
This clip of a 1985 men’s bout explains it all. Holy moly!
WFTDA and other derby organizations are actively seeking international status as a “discrete roller skating discipline”, fervently trying to shed the “aggressive”, “spectacular” and “predestined” nature of the derby you know from the 80’s. The sport and is developing national and international contests with the hope of convincing the Olympics to include roller derby as a team sport.
If you haven’t seen a live bout, here is a link for a Western Regional Semi-Final bout last month. This is about as good as it gets. If you are looking for elbows and headlocks, you are going to be disappointed! All illegal.
But as Bob Haynie says, I digress.
This blog is supposed to be about me! Tryouts brought out a group of about 35 women and 22 qualified for the league. I felt a little bummed for those that didn’t make it until I had my first full practice as a league member. If any of you participated in team sports in high school, you will know what I am talking about! Just like that first practice of the season. Pain, fatigue and pain again!
I felt like I was plopped down in the middle “Remember the Titans” with Joy Collision as Coach Boone. “This is a 2-hour practice. Get here 10-minutes early and gear up. Get water when you need it. I don’t plan water breaks. You will have two-minutes to pack up and leave.”
We then proceeded to go into sprint drills, heart attacks and suicides with crunches, squats and push-ups during the rest periods.
If you haven’t made the league or are thinking about joining, keep all of this in mind, get your butt off the couch and hit the track or the gym – often!
Even though there is not a spot on my body free of Tiger Balm, it feels great to be pushed to the limit again.
The league is in its offseason but is planning a charity bout some time in January. I’ll keep you posted on this and my progress!