Ever spun in circles with one eye closed while a pack of tattooed women tried to take each other out at the kneecaps? I hadn't, until Bob Buckley and I jammed over to Capital City for a look at modern day roller derby. There we found a dark and dingy skating rink teeming with enough Grrrrl Power to kick-start another Lilith Fair - provided there was some death metal on the playbill. But I don't want to paint the Carolina Rollergirls as brutes, for many of these not so fair maidens are suburban moms. Moms who could pile-drive an entire Jerry Springer audience, but suburban moms nonetheless. Why only half a dozen times did I contract any stink-eye, a relatively small outbreak of criminal conjunctivitis, considering I was trampling through their under lit dojo.
Hey, speaking of light, can we get some incandesence in this joint? I know roller rinks are all about atmosphere, but I'm attempting cinema here! The last person who gave me heat for pointing a light their way was Rusty Wallace and everyone knows he's a putz. Next time don't reach for the throwing stars quite so quickly when the next cameraman fires up his sun-gun. But I ... digress.Of course, one doesn't breathe the rarefied air of a roller derby practice session without taking a few precautions. I'm talking steel toed boots, protective eyewear, and the removal of any hoop earrings - lest that message therapist hurtling toward you become entangled upon impact. Why in the short time Bob and I surfed the perimeter we saw a finger run over, and angle banged up and more than one woman's dignity being gouged out. Was it any wonder I stuck to the sidelines? That is until one Mr. Buckley did his best Marlin Perkins impersonation, 'suggesting' I join the zebras milling about the infield. Having thrown down the man card, Bob backed away slowly, before taking a defensive position in the snack bar. I watched him there, eyeing Little Debbie, when a Tasmanian She-Devil nearly flattened me.
From there, it was a blur, the fragmented snapshots of a slinger in survival mode. Sure, I eventually made it to the center of the floor, but not before playing 3-D Frogger with a half dozen tattooed ladies. As with most trauma, time began to bend, until I was engulfed in a swirl of striped knee socks, chrome helmets and enough shoulder ink to blot out the ancient disco ball slowly spinning above my head. You know, come to think of it, it was there - forging the ruts of the local Roller Dump - that I first became engaged in our assignment that day... Then again, it's hard not to pay attention when a woman by the name of 'Karma Suture' is tucked into a battle-crouch, coming in fast and aiming staright for your appendix. Just sayin'..