Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Derby Luv

Today's roller derby is a phenomenon unlike any other: a wildly popular, wholly independent sport that is international in scope, completely built on grass roots, with no big-cheese owners. It is unique as a sport, as a structure, even as a social phenomenon. Not only is there no other sport that operates on such a widespread, hog-on-ice [independent] basis, but there is no other endeavor that works like roller derby. Even though Alcoholics Anonymous is widespread and independent like derby, AA lacks that all-important full-contact angle, and it leaves a lot to be desired as a spectator sport! Roller derby of today stands alone in a lot of ways. It's something to be admired, treasured and wondered about. Modern roller derby's most important asset is fun, built on a foundation of enthusiasm and energy. The bouts are the "shiny" part of this deal that everyone sees, but in real time and terms, the bouts are only a tiny fraction of the activity involved in roller derby. Like any good show, a lot of hard work goes into making it look easy! Roller derby attracts the best and brightest people, squeezing their best and brightest efforts out of them. They give their all, do their best, "dress up" and wear a smile with a dedication that holds up for years. What most employers and politicians would give to be able to garner that dedication and focus!
Roller derby combines punk-rock aesthetics, pin-up pulchritude, and athletic ability into one showy existence. We've spent hours stretching, running drills, even holding our still bodies in positions designed only for cruel and unusual punishments (Really Coach, I love squats!) Occasionally we may cry, hyperventilate, even pass out but when we're done with all that, we skate! There are several reasons we put so much into the athletics part of the equation:
  1. It's fun to win and bouts are tough. We need to be in the best shape possible to last the two 30-minute periods during which the game is played.
  2. Roller derby can be a dangerous sport but the better shape you're in, the better chance you have of making it out safely.
  3. We respect roller derby for what it is-a sport. Derby is hard; it's physical; it's demanding!
Considering the practices, additional trips to the rink for more practice, membership dues, event coordination, public and charity events as well as the possible injuries we face, this is serious business. Hell, it's damn near a full-time job that you can't help but love!

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