Attended my first Minnesota Rollergirls match. My neighbor and the sister of an old 4-H buddy both skate. I had been curious for several years. I had been encouraging my neighbor since she started as a debu-taunt and worked her way onto a team. Way back in the proverbial “day”, aka 1970s, my grandfather took me to a match in southern Minnesota. He was an ardent wrestling fan and thought that it might be fun to watch. I wasn’t impressed by the violence and focused on reading my book. He became overwhelmed by the noise and we left at halftime.
This time I met my friend, sibling of the 4-H-alum skater, at a restaurant for supper and then we proceeded to the Season 10 Championships on Saturday, April 19th, 2014. We procured balcony tickets that cost only $15 but had to stand in line for general admission. We sat with some of her friends and cheered on the team. A well-balanced group from the Twin Cities Unicycle Club performed a pregame show. The music was rather loud but I do enjoy deep industrial synth music.
The game between the Dagger Dolls and Rockits began. Thankfully, a synopsis of the rules is in the program and my friend explained the rest. However, it wasn’t always apparent why people were called into time-out. The brightly clad players whizzed around the oval. They have to have great balance, stamina, and competitiveness to be involved in this sport. It was difficult to read the numbers on their vests so I identified the people by the colors of their leggings. Some of the costumes were extremely tight or rather spartan and I was surprised that no one became completely exposed at some point due to the intensity of the 20-minute match.
There were two games, one for third place, and then Atomic Bombshells against the Garda Belts for the championship. Bagpipes preceded the Garda Belts team, which was cool. Each of the other teams featured a mascot of some type and had color-coded flags and uniforms. Halftime consisted of a 30-minute concert by the Beatle’s tribute band, A Hard Day’s Night. They sounded okay but could use some vocal coaching.
After halftime, the second half of the matches occurred. The smell of sweat, popcorn, and beer filled the auditorium. I was rather perplexed by the people who chose to sit on the floor next to the oval. They would have been hurt if a skater fell on top of them. Several of the skaters hit the unforgiving cement floor badly so I’m sure that they got bruised. Flat track derby is assertive skating with a lot of aggression but not the violence of the previous era.
The games were held at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul. The auditorium is much in need of a rehab. The event was very loud and I was glad that I utilized earplugs. One family brought sound reduction headphones for their kids, including an infant. I think it would have been better to get a babysitter because the vibrations were enough to be unnerving. I felt exhausted afterwards. Interestingly, the DJ ended the night with softer tunes including the Blue Danube; perhaps to help calm the crowd and the players.
The Rockits won third place, and the Garda Belts won the championship for the first time. It is a pro-amateur sport. None of the skaters are paid, even for parking. I am surprised that major corporations don’t sponsor pro-am teams, a little bit of cash would mean a lot to “alternative” sports like lacrosse and any female team. I am completely offended when female teams are sexualized. There was a flag-football league that played in bikinis, which is repulsive. Personally, I am rather perplexed that a full-grown female would choose to be referred a girl. Once you start menstruating you are a woman. What full-grown male wants to be called a boy? However, people can self-identify as they choose. Just don’t call me girl!
www.rollergirls.com and www.northstarrollergirls.com I'd like to view a North Star match and compare the bouts.
Copyright © 2014 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved