Friday, June 23, 2006

ROLLER DERBY

Have you checked out your local roller derby yet? Yes. I said Roller Derby. However, this is not your grandma's roller derby. In the last few years the derby has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Cities all across the U.S. have started leagues. In Seattle we have the Rat City Roller Girls with monthly bouts in a hanger at Magnuson Park. This year at Bumbershoot (on Saturday) there will be an exhibition bout at the Key Arena with guest teams from around the country.

Our league in Seattle skates a flat track and the action is fast and furious. The first time I went it took the entire evening for me to start seeing strategy and nuance. There is so much going on! The girls fall often or get pushed in to the crash zone where the fans on the floor try to protect themselves from skate wheels. Uniforms for the teams seem to be a suggestion; all the girls have modified and embellished theirs.

It's a family style event - you see people of all ages, from kids to grand-parents. There is live music prior to the main event, mascots (can we talk?) urging the fans to cheer for their favorites, score keepers, mistresses of punishment, MC's, a sideline reporter, medical staff, half time entertainment, and always, a unique rendition of our national anthem. In general, it's a freak show. It's local. It's grassroots. It's fun. Dude. Check it out.

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