In a melee of girls tossing each other around, crushing each other into a brick wall, rounded out with breathtaking speed and grace, the Hard Knox Rollergirls finally kicked off their 2007 season.
The league was divided into two teams, black and white, and set loose on the rink. Many of the girls are veterans of the past year, many haven't seen a real bout before tonight. Tonight's match was a great way to give the newbies a taste of the real deal as well as get the away team ready to drive north and kick some ass.
Today was a fun one from beginning to end, from Momma waking up with a horrid headache, unsure if she'd even be able to skate, to my last minute attempts to purchase distasteful prepared food products from a restaurant drive through. It's really a story in and of itself, but it isn't a good story.
I'm not sure how much I missed of the bout, as I arrived a bit late. I wandered in and found the black side was the far end of the rink. I stopped off for a refreshing beverage before finding some friends and perching on the floor, the human bumper that I'm certain has saved many a derby girl from a far worse slide had she not met the human bumper. I've somehow avoided being the in the path of a careening derby girl before now, but that's mostly because I stand in the back and scream at people.
The match was tough, well fought to say the very least. I don't know if I've ever seen that many hits in one hour. There were more pile ups than in the entire US interstate highway system. There were some bad shots, but there were so many more perfectly executed blocks. There were moments when half the people skating were on the floor, sometimes in one pile, sometimes in a series of drops.
I don't know that I can write about derby without discussing my wife. I'll not only admit up front that I'm biased, but I'll also admit that anyone that has seen her skate will openly admit to her speed. I'm actually kind of stuck trying to imagine some silly homily where I compare her speed to something else that's also fast. She comes at you faster than your kids birthday that you forgot to plan for because it came at you so fast. And it's not only that she's so fast but that she's past you sometimes before you even can think to block her. I watched so many people blocking air behind her tonight, so many people who looked bewildered "what the fuck" etched in every line of their face.
I would love to treat the entire world to a good roller derby bout. I can accept that Americans don't often get soccer, my own personal sport, but roller derby, except that they are not burning large amounts of fossil fuels, is so completely American, loud, fast, hard to understand sometimes and a little painful for all involved. Skate wheels, pads and hospital visits don't come cheap. We need more people at these matches. So get your googler out and look up your city. Go out and cheer for the home team, and before you know, there will be a caravan of cars from Tennessee rolling into your town to whip up on your local gals. And then we'll drink all your beer, sleep for just long enough to recharge our batteries before we roll on to the next town.