Do you ever just want to do something that could be potentially dangerous? I don’t mean wanting to do something dangerous because it is dangerous. I mean having the desire to do something specific, like football, for example, that you’re pretty much guarantees you’ll get hurt in some way while taking part?
I was recently taken to the roller derby here in Los Angeles by a friend of mine. The LA Derby Dolls, a league of several different teams, have their own rink, which was where the Drew Barrymore film Whip It was apparently made. This is where we went to see my first roller derby match. My friend recently began taking roller derby classes, which are a combination of fitness and lessons on how to play the game. She was encouraging me to join her, and I have to say, I was both scared and highly intrigued.
When I went to the match, I found it was like nothing I’ve ever really seen before. The whole event is a spectacular, theatrical mash-up of sport and sub-culture. I suppose it must be a lot like live wrestling events, except it’s a little more out there because it features women in the role of the body-bashing athlete. I have never been to a live wrestling event though, so that is just a guess.
But I did find myself wanting to participate. As I watched the “jammers” try to break through the pack or zoom past by the skin of their teeth, and as I heard the crowds cheer, I thought, “yeah, that would be all right.” But it is a given that you will get beaten up. I have no idea how many players went down that night, but I think I counted three refs falling hard, usually the victims of skaters accidentally sweeping their legs as they suffered their own wipeouts.
I mentioned football at the beginning of the article. I would ask the same questions about that sport. There are other issues I want to address regarding my experience at the roller derby, but for now, I would like to see if anyone else can weigh in on this one. And does the fact that women are the ones engaging in this sport make a difference at all? It’s a tough call.