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Published on June 12th, 2013 | by


How it feels to play roller derby: Link

“You will not get to be these things, of course, until your body earns them. First scrimmage, pick your way to the line on the track—there are bodies all around you, the parts of them the closest all bulging and intimate: the parts, on a crowded bus, that you’d normally strain to avoid. You try, because it seems logical, facing the direction in which you’ll be skating, but feet snake between yours at awkward angles. It is a Jenga puzzle, Twister, your struts already hopelessly tangled. You begin shaking—first your tensed calf, and then it spreads up your body, upper half slightly out of sync with lower half, juddering.

The whistle blows and total chaos follows—you run forward, try to run, are hit down in a quick business-like way, economically, before you manage a second step. You stumble up, no-handed, as practiced—better than expected—but already others are ripping past you, the whole pack is churning, and the point of your juddering, the instinctual message of it, is clear like it never has been before: you will be left behind. You are skating forward somehow, swimming towards safety, when you are walloped—there’s no other word for it—clear off the track. A soft ribbon is driven from you, half a spoonful, maybe, of urine. You are up again, even faster—adrenalin expands all fuzzy and quantum—but you are hit to the ground, hard, again.”

This is the best description of how it feels to start playing roller derby that I’ve ever seen. Well done, Nicomatose (aka Nicole Matos) of the Chicago Outfit.

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