So - roller derby. I think it's one of those things that once it grabs you, it won't let go! If you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, here's a 2 minute video on YouTube that gives the basics of how flat track roller derby is played, courtesy of the Hammer City Roller Girls (from Ontario in Canada). And if you want to see something a bit closer to home (and a bit more 'live-action'!), here's a clip from SBS's Dave in the Life, featuring the girls from Sydney Roller Derby League!
So from the outside, it might look like a lot of biff goes on, but a great deal of time goes into teaching girls to skate properly and safely, which minimises the risk of injuries. I have just passed my White Star assessment, which is the first assessment in the Derby world of star ratings. There's still another two to go (Yellow and Orange stars) before I'll be deemed 'bout ready'.
And though there is definitely a perve factor inherent in the sport, it's best not to forget that it is indeed a SPORT, and these women are athletes. Though sometimes it may not look like it, you don't actually have to be considered 'hot' to play roller derby. The beauty of it is that it suits a number of body types, and in fact you use your body as a weapon. Having large powerful thighs gets you round the track quicker, a generous bottom is great for booty blocking, and being short gives you a lower centre of gravity so you can weave through the pack with greater ease. That's one thing I love about it.
The other thing that amazes me is that it's something pretty much anyone can learn to do. Eight weeks ago I could barely stand up in my skates, and now I can do a whole length of the track standing on one foot/skate! I can T-stop and plough stop within 3 metres, I can jump 10 cm in my skates, and I can fall down and get back up again within 3 seconds. And you know, I'm not exactly the 'sporty' type!
In fact I've never played a team sport, aside from a brief go at water polo in high school. I'm not a 'joiner' and I don't like relying on other people to win. I'm firecely competitive, and that's something I've tried to avoid unleashing, because it's just easier that way, both on me and on those around me! But with derby, I feel like This is The One - a sport that I can actually get into! I'm not sure if I can exactly articulate why it's different. Maybe coz it's a contact sport for women, maybe coz you get to play in fishnets if you want. But it all adds up to one very exciting new thing in my life, and I'm loving it!