If there is one person to blame for my recently developed appreciation of roller derby, it would have to be my sister Kathy, aka Vixen Kitten. For the longest time after returning to Utah, she would invite us to come check out a derby scrimmage or match. I kept putting it off, always making some excuse, but really I was just lame and I should get out of the house a bit more.
One Thursday night a few months ago, I finally decided to check out what it was all about. Don’t get me wrong, I had an idea what roller derby, if only because I may have watched Whip It, the Drew Barrymore directorial debut about derby in the Midwest. To be honest, that’s what I was expecting.
For those that have seen the movie, the game that Wasatch Roller Derby plays is slightly different. For one thing, it is played on a flat track. Though there is a banked track league or two in Salt Lake, all the teams at Wasatch do flat track. While I have not yet watched a match on a banked track, I can only imagine it to be much crazier than flat track… and that is saying something.
As the casual observer that I am, I am still trying to figure out everything. I have the general scoring system down, but don’t ask me about what’s a foul or not, or what parts of the body you can hit with legally. Matches are much better than scrimmages in my opinion, what with an announcer, music, and a projected score so its easier to follow along, but I digress. All I know is that I have a lot of fun watching.
I kind of compare it to my brief love of indoor soccer that I experienced early last year. There is one thing in common about both sports and the reason I like them: the lovely ladies that play. The general consensus around the interwebz is that a lot of women play roller derby for the empowering aspect of it. Not only do you get to skate around and get some exercise, but you also get to beat each other up! Not something you can do in normal every day life I guess.
As a warm-blooded male, what can be better than watching this happen? I still cringe every time someone falls down, if only because it looks painful regardless of all the padding that they have to wear. But it is still fun to watch the ladies skate around, doing things that I would never be able to do, especially considering that my only previous foray into roller skating ended 15 minutes into it after falling down three times. It really is an enjoyable thing to watch.
Lastly, I think I would be remiss if I forgot to mention my Derby Crush. It feels weird as a guy approaching 32 to have a school boy crush on a woman that I have never talked to, but it happens. Her punny name infers that she is nerdy like me, so there may be a chance that we could be a match made in heaven. Alas, it is not meant to be for multiple reasons, so I will continue to watch from afar in a non-creepy way. Maybe I’ll get the courage to actually talk to a person I don’t know, but knowing my history… probably not.
If anyone of my Utah friends is interested in coming to the next scrimmage, just let me know. It may conflict with my new gym schedule, but I’m willing to make sacrifices in order to introduce folks to this exciting sport. Just don’t ask me to strap on some skates and we’ll be alright.
Until next time…