Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“Talk Derby to Me”

So, I can’t take credit for that phrase, but I can officially say that I am a Derby Girl! A bona fide skate-owning, dues-paying, sweating-it-out-in-the-heat derby girl! This is very exciting, for a number of reasons:

1.      Derby girls are bad ass. The whole point of the sport (it is a sport…see #2) is to be a badass: you can knock people over, rock some badass fashion (see #3), skate really fast, and make falling look painful and cool. When I used to go to bouts, if I was in the bathroom and some derby girls came in, I would immediately feel simultaneously intimidated by and jealous of their coolness. Now I’m that girl! Or, I will be once I’m scrimmage-ready. Subpoint 1A: Once you are scrimmage-ready, you get to choose your DERBY NAME, usually something tough and witty. What is more badass than that?
Drew Barrymore's film Whip It is all about roller derby. This film is how I first found out about derby. Is there anything cuter than their outfits!? The team in the film is the "Hurl Scouts." Ellen Paige may be precious, but the movie's derby scenes are awesome.

2.      For the first time in my life, I’m an athlete! No, really. I go to 2 practices a week right now, each of which lasts 2 full hours, during which I sweat buckets, consume nearly a gallon of water, squat almost without break, sprint around the track, block other players, jump on my skates, hit and get hit by other team members. It’s hard work! I have no idea how many calories 2 hours of skating like that burns—1,000? It feels like it anyway! After practice, I usually guzzle a sports drink, and it usually feels like the best thing I ever drank. Subpoint 2B: Just in case you were wondering, there are tons of rules to a derby bout, there is a ruling body of flat track roller derby, the WFTDA, which certifies teams and players, and there are lots of ways you can foul other plays. It’s a sport—for real!....Olympic Derby 2016????
Tights from WeLoveColors.com.
Where else but at derby could I possible wear these?
3.      Derby means FASHION. So I’m not the girl who ditches class to go to fashion week in New York (a friend of mind had a student who gave that as an excuse once for missing class…for real), and I have some serious qualms about how fashion media portrays women. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t love clothes. I DO. And derby gives you the perfect excuse to own and wear lots of crazy clothes that would be questionable at best if worn to, say, the grocery story, movie theater, or even a bar. But Derby means no-holds-barred fun fashion…. 
4.      Derby is also about accepting all women. Everyone is equal in derby—only your abilities and your commitment, not your beauty or body shape matter. Any girl can wear hot pink hotpants, if she wants to. And anyone can join and train—the only thing required is a good attitude. Derby girls are also crazy supportive. I’ve never in my life received so much praise, compliments and, in general, good juju. If you do a good job at practice, you can bet there will be a nice message for you waiting on your FB from another derby girl.
5.      Derby is a national and international network of women dedicated to working hard, playing hard, and doing good in the world. Derby girls are philanthropists in their communities, and they help one another too. Once a derby girl is certified scrimmage-ready, she can practice even on vacation just by contacting the derby league nearest her vacation spot of choice and practice with other derby girls!
6.      Addendum to #3: Derby is also an aesthetic. Team logos are often inspired by tattoo art, rockabilly fashion, pin up girl photos from the 1940s and 50s, art deco, punk & glam rock, steampunk, 1960s advertisements & 1970s Raquel Welch, who starred in a derby movie in the 70s. Derby bouts often have a “cigarette girl” selling raffle tickets in full vintage regalia. I LOVE THAT STUFF. 
Our league's logo. Strong & sexy!

So what are you waiting for!? Go find your local league and JOIN! You can be a skater, a ref, or an official. Men can join too—there are men’s derby leagues, and many men volunteer as refs and skate with derby ladies at their practices. Do I really have to convince you more!???