Sunday, November 8, 2009

Watch this space: hardcore derby girl arriving soon

Yes, roller derby means pain. I can say this without even having been to my first bootcamp session because I'm sitting here writing this whilst fitting my mouthguard. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to have blisters on my top gum. Mmm, tasty. I've got what they call a "boil and bite" mouthguard. Boil for 90 seconds - sure. Dunk in cold water for one second - um, what was that? Bite - fuck, that's really really hot. But hey, I didn't take it out. I must be made for roller derby.

Well, maybe. Fact is I'm a massive physical coward (you know, the kind who says "ow!" before she's even been hit), which is one of the many reasons I've decided I want to do roller derby. That may not seem to make sense, but I'm like that. No confidence in my singing voice? I joined a choir. Having trouble showing my writing to people? I enrolled in a creative writing degree. Sucker for punishment? Maybe. Sucker for the self-improvement cult more likely.

But you can't just choose one reason for wanting to do roller derby. It's roller derby, who wouldn't want to do it!? It's almost an insult to call this activity a sport. Yes, this is coming from the girl who was a conscienscious objector at school sports carnivals - "too much unhealthy rivalry and segregation into tribalist factions." (I'm not denying I was an obnoxious (and lazy) little shit in my early years.) And yet roller derby had me clapping, cheering and shouting like I've only ever done at music concerts, never at a sporting event.

Roller derby is so much more than a sport, it's a philosophy (and, I'm starting to suspect, a religion). It's got everything you need for a well-rounded philosophy: aesthetics, ethics, politics - I could go on ad nauseum (no, I really could, I'm a philosophy graduate - eww!). But perhaps such theorising is better left for a later post. After all, aside from falling on my arse a few times during a public session at the local roller rink, I haven't actually played the damn sport yet. It's time to bite the now nicely moulded and comfortable mouthguard and put my money where my badly burnt mouth is. Stay tuned.

-Deadly Longlegs

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