It’s Valentine’s Day, so most people are waxing poetic about love. The love they have, the love they want, the love they love, the ideal love that Hallmark earns a fortune on each February. That deep-romantic-knock-my-socks-off-I’ve-found-my-one-and-only-true-soulmate kind of love. However, love doesn’t have to be the rom-com Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks kind of love. Sometimes it’s just as lovely when it’s a knockdown, drag-out and balls-to-the-wall kind of love. Sometimes Love is A Battlefield. And sometimes it’s Roller Derby.
Before Saturday, I’d never been to the Roller Derby. I remember watching bouts on TV during my childhood. Those were the days when there were only three major channels, PBS and a couple of UHF stations that showcased roller derby and wrestling in between John Wayne and Planet of the Apes movies. Recently there seems to be a renewed interest in a sport that’s been around since 1935.
So last weekend I attended my first Roller Derby event. Love, love, love was certainly in the air for the Brew City Bruisers Rollergirls. Energy crackled as the fans packed the stands for two bouts – first up was the Maiden Milwaukee versus the Crazy 8s, followed by an intermission of the junior rollergirls, and then the Shevil Knievels versus the Rushin’ Rollettes. It was a night filled with skaters, the jam, packs and penalties. None of it came across as fake or choreographed, and the falls looked like they really hurt. I ran into Bionica in the hallway after her Maiden Milwaukee bout and she was gracious enough to pose for a photograph. As tenacious and ferocious as she was on the rink, she was even nicer and outgoing in person. And I was surprised at how tiny she was – weren’t Rollergirls supposed to be big, hulking Broomhildas? One good hip-check and I could have felled her.
After watching the Drew Barrymore-directed movie Whip It, I was inspired to come up with my own roller derby name – the “Ann Ihilator”* I’m hoping to put it into action one day.
* copyright pending