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Published on November 30th, 2011 | by DerbyLife

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I Want To Skate

By: Rody Blocker

There! To the left! The big purple and green building that is so very difficult to miss! We had driven an hour, gotten lost and cursed out a GPS more times than can be counted, but we made it to Rollerama with time to spare. Inside, there were the Hellions of Troy, preparing for their bout. I suddenly had doubts.

“Oh my god, what if this is super creepy and she hates me after this?”

I had been in love with Roller Derby for over two years, at this point. I had bought myself skates, looked up all the information I could and went out at least once a week to practice by myself in a parking lot. My attempts at reviving the local derby team had all been for naught but I was determined to keep trying. I had started up a small blog, to document my trials and errors. It had gotten a small following of other derby bloggers; one of whom, I was here to watch skate.

“She doesn’t even really know me? What if she doesn’t recognize me? What if she didn’t think I’d actually come and is now going to be freaked out?”

My friends gently reassured me that I was being an idiot and that my hair stood out anywhere. Then they pushed me through the door.

Inside, it smelled like sweat and food. That probably sounds horrible, but it was amazing. The sound of wheels on the floor made my heart race. The music coming out the speakers was actually good music. Everyone looked happy and I felt good.

“I keep turning around and think I see you. But it’s not you, Katy!”

It was true. Normally, a pink, green, blue and purple mohawk stands out. Here, it just looked the norm.

The Hellions were out on the track, warming up. I spotted Hanna Solo, just by looking at her helmet. I got nervous all over again. Then I spotted someone else.

“Oh look! It’s Kitty Porn!”

Kitty had been the one to introduce me to derby, though she might not remember it. I had gone up to the mall one day and stopped by the store that she was currently working in. Without ever meeting me before, she began to tell me all about her new team and how exciting Roller Derby was. I was hooked almost immediately.

Then the Rebel Alliance helmet was skating by again. I was freaking out not as if I had come to meet a friend but as if I had come here for a blind date. Even I knew I was being a little silly at this point.

“Let’s get some food and sit down.”

I grabbed some ice cream to settle my nerves. We sat along a wall and watched the girls warm up. Then Hanna skated off rink and turned towards us. She saluted at me and I suddenly felt better.

“See? She doesn’t think you’re weird. Or at least, any weirder than she already thought you were.”

The music that they had been pumping through the speakers stopped and the announcers began to introduce the home team. I was so excited to be there and watch this bout that I was immediately on my feet. They announced Hanna Solo and I screamed as loud as I could. Even if I was feeling slightly socially nervous, I had to show her my support. Loudly.

The bout was amazing. They Hellions were up against the Brick City Bruisers, and although Garden State put up an amazing fight, the Hellions got an early lead and were determined to keep it. The friends I was with weren’t familiar with how the game was played so I had the opportunity to flaunt my knowledge.

During half time, Hanna skated over and talked with us.

“You’re doing awesome! This is so exciting. Thanks for inviting us!”

She thanked us for coming and then went back to the rink where they were having a wheel toss. I wandered over to the merchandise booths to poke around. They were selling soap at one booth that at first we thought was cheese. Only after asking for a sample, did we realize our mistake. I ended up buying a blue tank top that said “Talk Derby to Me.” After a while the bout started up again. During one of the jams, one of the Hellions fell hard and everyone took a knee.

“Why are they doing that?”

I felt an expert explaining to my friend that the players took a knee to not only show their support for a fallen derby girl but also so no one else crashed. The girl ended up with a twisted ankle and everyone cheered for her.

The Hellions won the bout. I remember cheering and I remember the ride to Denny’s but what I remember most of all is thinking “This is what I love. This is amazing.”

Watching the Hellions of Troy making use of the opposition tendency to leave the outside open and watching the Brick City Bruisers use their size as a strategy to keep the jammers from crossing was just an amazing experience. The sounds the skates make as they rushed passed the fans and the way the team works together is just perfect. I may have already been in love with roller derby but that night made me want to marry it.

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