Last time, I went to my first roller derby bout. I enjoyed it so much, I went back the first chance I got! After sharing the experience with a group of friends, I realized that I’m not the only one with an intense infatuation for the sport. So my wife and I loaded up our car with a couple of friends and headed into the sprawling northern Indiana cornfields.
After our hour voyage, we turned into the parking lot at Gibson’s Arena and tried to find a parking space. The lot was packed, so we just kind of “made” a spot somewhere in front of the building. It worked out great! Having spent almost a decade of my young adult life in Muncie, I had never been remotely close to the only skating rink in town. After going there, I’m not sure why. The decor may be a little out of date, much like most small-town roller rinks, but the floor seemed to be in good shape at least! Maybe a lot was hidden by the lack of lighting in the joint. We may never know. The image I had in my head last time, going into my first roller derby event, was validated this time once I paid the admission and walked through the entrance. The lights were dim (no matter what the picture below may reveal), the carpeted furniture was aplenty, and the concession stand was next to the pro shop, right where you would expect it to be.
We were given the tip that there were plenty of chairs remaining just behind the “suicide seats” on the far end of the track, so we grabbed a program and some popcorn before meandering to the other side of the rink.
As previously noted, my guest blogger and contact on the inside of the sport, SGT O’Harms, did not participate on the active roster at the first bout I attended. This time would be different. I got a heads up a few weeks ago that she would be skating, so I cleared my calendar and started making plans.
Upon walking towards the arena, I noticed stickers on the back window of several cars advertising the Lake City Roller Dolls. Once we grabbed our seats, my wife asked where the other team was from. All I could offer was, “Lake City.” Wherever THAT is. Later I found out that it is in fact, Warsaw, Indiana.
We thumbed through our programs and focused on the rosters. One of my favorite parts of roller derby is looking at the player’s unique and creative names. The Cornfed Derby Dames list players such as Ash Ash Baby, Betty Fhite, Bobbi Pin, Debbie Darko, Elizabeth TailHer, Frida Brawlo, and SGT O’Harms. The Roller Dolls included names like Dyrtie Gyrtie, Evilyn Sidher, Mel Feasance, and my personal favorite…Carmen Slamdiego.
Our attention also couldn’t help but notice the theme for the bout. With it taking place on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it was fittingly titled Heroes Vs. Villains. The scorekeepers in the middle of the track were all decked out in superhero costumes like Batgirl, Spiderwoman, The Flash, and so on. One of the skaters even donned Captain America underoos as part of her derby attire.
And then our focus was brought to the Cornfed Derby Dames’s mascot – Constable Corn! I frantically starting searching over the crowd and my eyes locked on a gigantic, peeled ear of corn! I have always been enthralled with mascots and knew that a photo-op with the Constable was imminent! Oh yes, it would be awkward and amazing!
As we finally settled into the action, it didn’t take long for my friends to get involved in the bout. I pointed out to them something I had noticed at the last bout, but really didn’t need to. For as much hype as I was giving OCDiva, my friends had already taken notice. As fast as I thought I remembered her being was not even close. She sliced through the pack of blockers with blazing speed and racked up grand slam after grand slam. The only time she wasn’t running up the score was when she was on the bench or in the penalty box. And it wasn’t just OCDiva having her way with the visiting Derby Dolls. Ash Ash Baby and Alotta Pushie powered their way through the pack of blockers nearly just as easily. At halftime the lead was almost insurmountable.
Also at halftime was a hula hoop competition. While I’m normally not one to shake my money-maker in front of strangers, that didn’t change here either. (Got your hopes up, didn’t I?) However, one of my friends hopped up and ran out on the track to scoop up an unclaimed hoop. It didn’t end well for her…she very well may have been the first person eliminated.
The second half picked up right where halftime left off. As the squads took their places on the track, the commentator announced that OCDiva and Spiteful were ready to duke it out, insinuating some deep-down hatred between the two. OCDiva promptly rolled over to Spiteful and wrapped her up in a hug, dispelling any tension (however fabricated it may have been) between the two. the announcer wouldn’t let up though, eventually turning the start of the second half into an on-track dance-off between the two teams. (By the way, the Cornfed Derby Dames totally dominated that match-up!) The heated (and completely made-up) rivalry didn’t last much longer. Bobbi Pin, normally a blocker, even got in on the jamming action. For the last jam of the bout, she donned the star on her helmet and made her way to the starting position behind the pack…and managed a grand slam as time expired! With both teams originating less than 2 years ago, the experience level was pretty comparable. The talent level was just a little too much on the side of the Dames though, as they walked away with the victory when the final buzzer sounded and the score reflected 149-61 in favor of the Cornfed Derby Dames.
As awards were handed out for each team’s MVPs, the microphone was handed to some guy. That guy had an announcement to share that piqued my interest and grabbed the attention of my friends. He was an active member of Indianapolis’s own Race City Rebels. What’s that? A men’s roller derby league?!? The thought stuck with me throughout dinner that evening. Then the stakes were raised when one of my friends challenged me – if I try out for the guy’s team, she’ll try out for the girl’s team.
I haven’t skated in years. I played roller hockey for Ball State University, but that’s on in-line skates. I don’t know my way around a pair of quads! Not coincidentally, my wife has suggested that I need a new pair of skates so we can exercise together. Needless to say…a brand-spanking new pair of skates arrived on my porch this week. We’ll see what happens…
I know. They’re in-lines. I could never use these for roller derby. My thoughts are leaning more towards being a referee, and I can use whatever skates I want for that!
I implore you to check this sport out. It’s intense, fast-paced, and fun for the whole family!
As usual, here are several links of interest in case you missed them throughout the post:
Thank you, that is all.