Sunday, August 22, 2010

roller derby is not dead

Went to a roller derby last night, a bout put on by the Assassination City league. Went down at Dad's Broadway Skateland in Mesquite.
Disjointed observations follow. I'll highlight keywords so you can pick and choose through the mess.

There were many interesting things to note, but the most interesting was that the bout was sold out and the place was packed. Who knew?

The second most interesting thing was the good-naturedness of the crowd, which was a Good Thing given the sardine can levels of packedness in there and BYOB policy. It had to be at Fire Marshall maximum. It was crowded enough that I made special note of where the fire exits were. And it was freaking hot. Dress very comfortably and lightly.

I think that is the highest percentage of people with tattoos that I have seen in my life, including motorcycle bars. Even the children had those applique tattoos. How to put this... the crowd was post-rockabilly, post-goth, post-hairband, neo-burlesque/pinup scenesters run through a post-911, DIY, community gardening steampunk filter. Strange folks, and good folks I think. Like a parallel universe where carnies are friendly, funny and ironic rather than disturbing and on the lam for prior indiscretions.

The PA was stupidly, painfully loud and the MC loved to hear himself talk. The music wasn't too loud, just the incessant announcing. Luckily I am a dork and carry earplugs with me everywhere I go. It paid off this time; I would have left because of ear pain if I had no plugs.

A couple more observations, these focused on the skaters.
  • Sometimes you see sports/games where the players pantomime sportsmanship because the formal or societal rules say you have to. At the roller derby the skaters genuinely loved what they were doing and treated each other well. Aggression, yes, but good-natured and integral to the game. It reminds me of minor leagues games where both the players and the audience are there because they love it, not because of the money or the spectacle.
  • I think it is healthy to see women comfortable with their physical selves. I am tired of the "you must look this way" crap hawked by Cosmo, et al, for the benefit of clothesmakers and cosmetic companies. And tired of the neuroses this encourages. The skaters play with feminine imagery and roles rather than being enslaved to them. Grrrl power, indeed.

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