Monday, June 9, 2008

Chicks on skates

I still don't think I know exactly how the scoring works. Every time J and I thought we had it figured out, the round would end, and we'd be off by a couple points. Oh, sometimes we got it right. But not usually. "No, no -- that point doesn't count because the blocker skated past the jammer before time ran out!" "Do they get a penalty for riding their bike off the track? 'Cause I think she just knocked over the referee. Or maybe that gives them an extra point?"

Which is to say, I understand the rules of Roller Derby just about as well as I do any other sport: not at all. But I was utterly determined to not let that (and the $5 I had to pay for a can of Tekate!) get in the way of my enjoyment. So I grabbed myself a beer and a cookie, sat up on the railing, and did my best to follow along.

And really, how could I not enjoy an event that featured hot chicks on roller skates beating each other up, with pseudonyms like Kelly Kaboom, Crystal Deth, Judy Gloom, and Laura Palm-Her (points if you catch the reference)? Or a team whose mascot is the cookie monster? Where the sole objective of the game is to skate past the other team as they fling themselves into your way and try to knock you to the ground? Everything I could possibly want in live competition was there -- except chainsaws. Lumbersports still has a lock on that particular aspect. I've yet to attend a live sporting event that's nearly this much fun to watch. Although I suppose my only points of comparison at this point are American football and baseball, so competition's not that strong at this point.

Beyond the beautiful brutality on the rink, the spectacle on the sidelines was fantastic. Sure, American football has its halftime show, basketball its slam-dunk contests, baseball its... what the hell does baseball have, actually? But roller derby -- roller derby has ushers in fishnets and spiked collars, tattooed and pierced to the nines. Players committing too many fouls ushered off the field to Rage Against The Machine. A flag-wagging gorrilla on roller-skates setting up a marriage proposal in the audience.

And that's a beautiful, beautiful thing. I was going to go on a little bit here about how it takes talent to orchestrate a mood -- an ambiance, if you will -- and how important the attention to detail (gritty character bios on the website, disco ball shaped like a rollerskate) is for the overall effect. But then I realized blah, blah, blah, who cares? Dammit, there was a gorrilla on roller-skates! Waving a flag! Proposing marriage! Just put that image in your head for a little bit. Just for a second or two.

OK, done.


  1. I'm filled with the desperate need to see this live. I will, dammit!

    Laura Palmer was the dead chick from Twin Peaks. How many points do I get, and where can I redeem them?

  2. sounds awesome. Didn't Sarah the Red do roller derby? before the munchkin? hmmm?

  3. *sigh* Why do you do so many cool things when I'm out of town?

  4. Llama: Yes, this is exactly the kind of thing you would enjoy. As for points: you get 3 "Q" points (schedule A), 8 1/2 Barwin-Jessinger points, and 0.03 Erdős-adjusted floating points. Redeemable the next time you see me (*wink*). Which, incidentally, is when we're going to watch Roller Derby together.

    Kori: This sounds exactly like the kind of thing Sarah would do, although I don't actually know. I should, perhaps, ask her. And holy shit! She has a munchkin! I'd totally forgotten!

    Lin-duh: Sweet, caring boyfriend response: because when you're gone, all the cool is sucked out of my life and I need something, anything to fill the void. Honest response: because if I did them while you were in town, you'd want to come, and then you'd make them lame.

  5. Baseball has the seventh inning stretch, which has sad clowns and organ music. And sometimes old people dancing alone on the field as everyone trails out to the concession stands and bathrooms. Truly, it is the lamest of all the sports. In fact, baseball is so lame, that it could have a rollerskating gorilla proposing marriage and waving a flag and it would STILL be boring and feel like a waste of money. (In the spirit of full disclosure: I totally hate baseball as a spectator sport.)

    I assume that your response to lin-duh is meant to mean, "you'd make them lame by comparison because you're so awesome." Or maybe it's sarcastic. But the first three times I read it, I read it straight, like, "You are a lame-o and you ruin cool stuff so you're not invited." But that sounded so un-Joseph to me I just didn't think it could be right. Look at me grow and learn! I'm not randomly accusing you of things without checking to see if there are multiple interpretations first! Weee!

  6. I hear Eugene has roller derby now and again too. IT sounds like it is making a full on revival.

    As for what baseball has... I know baseball is not popular among readers of this blog, but there are some entertaining things. Minor league games usually have giveaways, contests etc. Some parks have races with men in large hotdog suits. And there is some interesting statistical analysis for those that are interested (not bullshit like day/night splits, but actual, intelligent statistical discussion, regression modeling etc.)

  7. Sydney: While I appreciate your giving me the benefit of the doubt, you should trust your first impressions. They were, in fact, correct. Don't worry, I don't /actually/ think my girlfriend's lame (Lin-duh: I hope you're not reading this section), but I feel it's good to keep her on her toes.

    Beau: If I'm interested in analyzing statistics, I'll work on my homework assignments. I sure as hell don't need it in my sports. Although men in hotdog suits sound interesting...