Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Well-Rounded Derby Girl

This morning, the knot that is still on my lower right leg almost two weeks after my first banked-track bout reminded me that I haven't shared my latest adventure in my derby life with my neglected blog. Today, I have absolutely no work to do and, since I'm losing my current job in the near future, no motivation to make up work to do. So here's the story about how a well-rounded woman became a well-rounded derby girl.

A couple of weeks ago, South Side Roller Derby began looking for skaters, flat-track or banked-track, to participate in an impromptu bout in an effort to keep from losing their venue. Even though I'm extremely out of shape and not getting any younger, I still try to maintain my free agent status by making a showing in any pick-up bout within a 300 mile radius, so naturally I jumped at the chance to try the real thing. I mean, what else put the dream in my heart if it wasn't old-school, no-holds-barred, banked-track roller derby? How could I pass this up?

South Side welcomed me and one other flat-tracker with open arms. I had made the hour-long drive from my north-side house to the south-side track several months ago for an open practice, and the two of us were there early before the bout to keep from embarrassing ourselves in public. Still I knew this wasn't going to be pretty; I really had no idea how different it was until the first whistle blew. My husband took a couple of pictures on his phone before the game started and I lost any shred of remaining innocence. (If you have half a brain, you can figure out a Catazon literally stands head and shoulders above the rest of the girls.) I haven't been able to find any others, but that might be a good thing, as you will see...

The first half was pretty much a waste for me. I had one good jam where I was able to impede the jammer for at least half the distance of the track if not more, but other than that, I could not get the hang of the angles and the acceleration factors. They put me the jammer star on me close to the end of the half, and I kept getting swallowed up by the pack every time I thought I was out. Damn those angles.

The second half, I was in every pack with one of my team's best skaters, Mojo, and she took me under her wing. We lined up next to each other in every jam, and she encouraged me to do the things I wasn't used to doing after playing by stringent flat-track rules for five years, such as swimming through the pack. I was starting to get pretty good at that, until I tried to take out a pole after getting a hip check to the inside. That speed you pick up going to the inside of the track is such a rush! The knot on my leg happened in the second half also, because I ended up on the floor or on top of other skaters much more than in the first half when I was skating too tentatively. Hey, I could get used to this!

In the end, the pink team was victorious, with or without my bumbling assistance. South Side is having another pick-up bout this Saturday, but my family is trying to make a July 4th tradition with friends at a Galveston beach house (two years in a row is not a tradition yet, but we'll go for more if possible). I highly recommend trying the banked track if you are a skilled flat-tracker. I know "I'll be back" if they'll have me.

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