I never saw My Aunt Jo skate for the LA Thunderbirds in the 70’s, but watched roller derby on TV fascinated by the toughness of these women who skated the banked rink simultaneously pummeling each other.
I remember the Christmas I got my first pair of roller skates. There were white granny boots with green wheels. The fab at the time was to tie pom poms to the laces by the toe. I’d put two little pony tails in my hair like Mindy from Mork and Mindy and wearing my Dittos, go to the Holiday Roller Rink with my friends. We’d meet the boys and skate to Michael Jackson. I loved skating backwards or speed up and crouch low with one leg extended, but couldn’t manage to spin like a top.
My feet didn’t grow much after sixth grade, so I held onto the skates and pulled them out from time to time, preferring them over inline skates. Once I let my friend tow me skating behind her scooter through the streets of Chicago. A little dangerous and a lot of fun.
After kids, my feet splayed out (attractive, huh?) and I sadly gave up my skates. Soon after I heard rumors about roller derby’s return: a sister-in-law becomes Crusty McKnuckle for Big Easy Rollergirls, a friend is Tipsy Kitty, another is Vampire Vixen. A colleague’s daughter is Lyta Riot. Then of course, there’s Drew Barrymore’s movie Whip It. Be still my heart. Punk toughness meets sex appeal.
Finally the stars align last Saturday night and I saw my first live derby. Hot, hot, hot!!! OC Roller Girls is made of up three travel teams, one home team and another team who skates the faster banked rink. The travel teams are ranked ABC, in order: Blockwork Orange, the Wheel Housewives of OC and Pulp Friction. These girls can skate and they are every bit as tough as what I saw on TV many moons ago. I’m doing my part to support them with my black grommet laced knee high boots, short shorts and big hoop earrings, hollering as the jammer passes the pack.
As I’m watching and trying to understand the rules and strategy of the game, I’m also going through possible derby names. What’s that? The call to adventure?? Hmmm…Could be…