One thing I learned from my first roller derby competition is that you call it a BOUT. Not a match or a game, but a BOUT! I'm glad they clarified that in their little brochure because I would have been calling it everything but that, probably. Going into my first roller derby, I didn't know much about the sport. All I really knew was that the ladies who participate are super hardcore chicks that won't hesitate to kick your aXX. Or so I thought...
LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
On the exterior, you see these strong, in-your-face ladies who can be a little intimidating, but when you let go of the assumptions that you have about their attitudes, you realize that they're merely kittens in a sexy tiger costume. Don't get me wrong, I'm not questioning their badaXXedness, not at all, I'm just pointing out the fact that they are actually really awesome people who like to have fun on wheels.
In my mind, I depicted roller derby as a violent-ish sport, and it's true that you can get hurt really badly if it's your unlucky day, because, let's face it, it's a full-contact sport. However, for the most part, I felt as though it was more thrilling and exciting than downright dangerous. During the bout, I saw a few gnarly falls, but the girls seemed to bounce back pretty quickly after a slip-up. Except for the jammer (the point scorer), the pack moved around the track at a rather moderate pace, not at all like the high-speed antics I envisioned.
BLAME IT ON HOLLYWOOD
Now that I think about it, it was the movie 'Whip It' that created this crazy illusion of what I thought roller derby would be. According to the rules, I know that you can't use elbows, forearms, hands, or feet to hit the other skaters, but that you can use your shoulders, hips, torso, or buttocks to block. So, all those fists flying in the movie, yeah, you can't do that in real-life roller derby unless you care to get penalized! Seeing them interact with the other team and each other, it seemed as though they didn't have a vindictive bone in their bodies. In fact, they appeared to be very encouraging and supportive of their teammates. What I saw was a tight-knit group of gals, it was actually really refreshing to see.
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, JOIN 'EM
It made me sort of want to join them! I won't lie, the thought of becoming an Appalachian Roller Girl has crossed my mind. Back in the day, I used to be quite the skater. Skating brings back some pretty fond memories for me because I did it for many years. It was something that I absolutely LOVED! But it's been so long. For those that have a desire to give it a go. The ARGs are hosting a boot camp on October 23rd. It's an opportunity to see if this sport might be your speed without having to invest more than an afternoon and $35. If I wasn't going to be out of town that day, I'd be tempted to put my rusty skills to the test!
KICKING AXX & TAKING NAMES
You can enjoy watching the girls do their thing without knowing the ins and outs of the game, though, that's what I did during this bout. They provided a handy zine of sorts that had the low-down on how roller derby works, which was a great guide. Next time, I'll know what's going on...maybe. All that mattered, really, was that they creamed the other team. I mean, it was kinda bad. You almost felt sorry for the other ladies, but they put up a pretty good fight until the bitter end. The final score was ARG 223 — Star City 36! This was their last home bout of the season, the next few will be held out of town. For their first season of bouting, they are doing pretty great and are currently at 7-2. I'd say that those are nice odds. Keep on being awesome girls! You seriously rock :D
If you'd like to learn more about the Appalachian Roller Girls, here is a link to their website.
One thing that I loved about the roller derby are the awesome nicknames people give themselves. There are some great names that are good for a few laughs out there. It made me think about what sort of wicked nickname I'd give myself if I were to ever become a roller girl. I visited a roller derby name generator for some inspiration, which churned out a few good ones that I liked, but they just weren't awesome enough. After giving it a little thought, I finally came up with my roller derby name. It's so good I almost feel like I have to become a roller girl just so I can use it! Curious to know what it is? Tell me what yours would be and I'll tell you mine! :D
WHAT WOULD YOUR ROLLER DERBY NAME BE?
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