Sometimes I hate (and sometimes love, but this blog is about my distaste for) being a steward of the sport of roller derby everywhere I go. My skating ability seems to speak for itself in that people are drawn to me at the roller rink, and feel uninhibited asking me questions about skating or roller derby. Usually when it is a precocious child it is adorable. When it is a guy feigning interest in skating in order to talk to me it is an ego boost. When it is a girl who wants to become a roller derby skater I am an enthusiastic helper. When it is an old couple who wants to tell me about the days when they watched roller derby it is charming and sweet, and sometimes downright annoying. YES I know who Ann Calvello was. YES I know who the Bay Bombers are. YES I know they used to do it on a banked track. SHUT UP. Close your god damn mouth and let ME teach YOU something.
Okay I’m sorry. I’m not always this off putting. Most of the time I am enthusiastic, and I try to be nice and informative. But last night at the roller rink I ate shit THREE times. The first time hey okay, it happens. I did a pretty nice baseball slide, ripped my tights but whatever. Fluke. The second time I was skating like a maniac through Friday night open skate and came really close to back blocking an unsuspecting patron of the roller rink, so I slowed my roll and, somehow, biffed it big time. Fortunately I didn’t take anybody out but I certainly ate some rink myself. I slammed down on my knees pretty damn hard, followed by some tucking and rolling. Knowing how to fall is great, but trust me, I really felt not having my pads on.
What happened next should be proof of how crazy I am, because I looked about and noticed quite a few shocked children. I mean, I think it was a fall people could hear. I got really frustrated and kinda shouted “Stop looking at me!”, (hey, I said I’m crazy), and skated away. I wasn’t hurt, except for my bruised ego, but not too embarrassed not to go put some fucking pads on. I’ve been sick this week and I know better than anybody that when you’re sick, you eat shit. I went and put some knee and wrist protection on, but I knew I wasn’t on my game. I was sweating buckets and a tad dizzy but why quit now? By my return it was time for the first event: women’s speed skate.
Women’s mother fucking speed skate!!! Who’s not going to go all out now? I’m such a dufus. Only person on the rink with pads on so what do I have to do? Prove what a bad ass I am. Sweaty-fever skinned knees and all. (Am I like, hearing my brother yelling at me in the my mind at this point or what?) So I speed skate. I’m feeling pretty groovy after perfectly executing the shoot the duck maneuver in front of all the onlookers. And feeling the song is going to end I start to book it. (I like to imagine we’re in the last few minutes of a bout, and the game depends on me, and I hear my team shouting “4 more points! 4 more points!” [okay I live in a dream world]). So I’m skating again, like a maniac, when I fall in such an epic almost apocalyptic spill/sprawl/slide across the rink, right as the song comes to an end.
This time I didn’t shoot up on my toe stops. In the silence and collective stunned gasp of the entire rink and after probably some audible moaning from me, in a pathetic attempt to save face I utter “I meant..to..do that” and pull my sad self up off the rink. At this point, I decide I should probably cut my losses and return to my bag where my only friend at the rink Jenneane is there to offer comforting words. I explain to her that I feel pretty ill, and shouldn’t have been skating, -all the while wiping away sweat like I just finished an entire triathlon or something. I must have looked completely out of sorts. You know how fluey people look.
I say, “I just don’t feel right. I’m going home before I break something”. And as I’m leaving, this couple that was listening in the whole time, and saw the whole torrid ordeal on the rink, decides to fucking stop me and say “Excuse me? Do you roller derby?”. I’m not short with them yet. I smile and say “Yes…” Them: “Oh do you do it in San Francisco or something?” I politely explain that no, we are a new flat track league and that there are new flat track leagues popping up all over, and if they want to see a game they should google, (insert about three local leagues here) and even gave them a really really brief description of the flat track resurgence and again, encouraged them to look it up and started walking towards the door.
“Oh my we used to watch roller derby back in the day. Do you know who the Bombers are?” OH MY GOD LET ME LEAVE. I’m trying really hard just to focus on you right now while simultaneously trying not to puke on you. I don’t want to explain this entire sport to you! MY SHIRT SAYS AUNTIE SOCIAL!!!!!
Okay these times don’t happen often… But come on people you just HEARD me explain to my friend I’m hella sick and I’m standing here bleeding from the god damn knee caps. SHUT UP.
So alright, I was nice to these people’s faces because I love roller derby, and I understand that I am a steward for the sport wherever I go- even if I do have the flu. But dang wouldn’t it have been funny if I puked on them? I guess the night was embarrassing enough. Moral of the story, for one: never be too proud to wear your pads and two: take the time to heal when you’re sick ya know-it-all. You’ll end up hurting yourself or worse: someone else.