Thursday, August 09, 2012

RollerCon 2012: Where All My Wildest Dreams Came True; or At Least My Wildest Dreams About Male Strippers

Ah, RollerCon. The annual five-day roller derby convention in Las Vegas; chock full of everything you could ever imagine that has to do with derby. Everyone who didn't go is sick of reading Facebook posts about it, and everyone who did go is sick of talking about it. Maybe that's just me.

This was my first experience with RollerCon, and I was lucky to be able to attend with some of my favorite people. But in trying to sum up the overall experience, I started to sound like Charles Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...there were highs and lows; lots of fun and inevitably, some not-so-fun. Some of it was just downright hard. Maybe it's like giving birth - while you're in the middle of it, it's really hard and awful, but when it's all over you have this beautiful baby and then you forget about how crappy it was, to the point that you'd do it all over again.

But, I've never given birth, and I don't really think that newborn babies are beautiful - in all honesty, they really gross me out; and also I didn't come home from RollerCon with a baby, beautiful or not, so perhaps that's not the best analogy.

In any case, please to enjoy my recap of RollerCon 2012.

(Also, I've taken the liberty of stealing lots of these pictures from other people's Facebook albums, so thank you to everyone who let me use a photo without them even knowing.) 

The Highs

- Watching bouts. This might seem boring to some people, but I really loved being in the main track room and just watching bout after bout. Some of them were competitive teams, and some were challenge bouts like Pads vs Tampons. They were all fun to watch, and seeing how differently everyone plays and skates was really valuable.

One of my absolute favorite challenge bouts featured two of my idols, Wanton Rebellion and Collin da Shotz, who are both big time officials. I love Wanton because she was my fresh meat mama, and I love/hate Collin because he's an absolute riot, but he ALWAYS catches me when I commit penalties and sends me to the box. That's just his job though.
Collin refs most of our scrimmages here, and the only skating I'd seen him do was around the inside of the track. I know Wanton can play, and you know she scares the crap out of me. Collin scares the crap out of me because he yells at me, but I had no idea how he played. Oh boy was I in for a treat.

This is the Collin I know:
 And this is the Collin we were so lucky to watch play. 
That's him, sitting in the penalty box, like, the whole time. It was such sweet, sweet satisfaction.

While seeing Collin da Shotz spend most of his time yellin from da box, I think my favorite moment was when Wanton went out there with him, put him on the inside line, and told him to stay there. Oh how well I know that speech. Then later, she had to grab his shirt and pull him to the front of the pack. Again, a very familiar feeling, right Rockettes? Who hasn't been grabbed by the shirt or waistband or arm and literally hauled to the front by Wanton? Hands down one of the most fun bouts I have ever watched. And Collin was such a good sport about us giving him a hard time - but really? Watching one of our refs just throw himself into the game (usually with penalizing results) was just so incredibly fun. And of course, screaming for Mama Wanton.

-Everything to do with learning more about roller derby. There was always something to do - classes on skates, classes off skates, classes in the pool, seminars, open scrimmages - you name it, you could probably find it there. One morning, just about all the Rockettes there joined a scrimmage together, and it was so fun to get to skate together with people you know, against people you don't know. And also to have the opportunity to play with people of all different experience levels. There's always something new to learn.

- I got married. Not for real (I don't want my sister to have a heart attack) but I left RollerCon with two new derby wives, Liz Tailher and Bruiser Ego. What can I say, I'm kind of a stud like that.

You might be saying, "What's a derby wife?" or, like my sister responded when I first mentioned having a derby wife, "I don't know what that is." My favorite definition of a derby wife is this: The girl who reminds you of all the things you ever liked in anyone else.Your derby wife is the girl who will always talk to you about anything both on and off the track. Your derby wife is your competitor, but she still appreciates your talents and skills.A derby wife is your roller derby soul mate. She may not even be your best friend in the league or the sport, but she’d be the one you know will be the first one to back you up, even if you’re dead wrong.

Yep, that about sums up my feelings for these two amazing women, and somehow I was able to trick them BOTH in being my derby wives. Hands off, ladies, they're mine...and their husbands.

- The Black and Blue Ball. This event was held on the last night of RollerCon, and its a big dance party, with the dress code described as this: "WHATEVER, as long as you’re wearing all black and/or blue." That's all the direction we had, and I didn't have a clue about what I was going to wear until the week before, when I was browsing Amazon and struck gold. I convinced Kid Seditious to dress up with me, and we kept our costumes a secret from everyone until we made our debut. And this happened:
I don't think I really need to talk about it, because the spandex body suits and high-top sneakers pretty much do all the talking. And I think the fanny packs really brought everything together nicely. Wearing this out in public was one of the scariest things I've ever done, but the payoff was totally worth it. Besides being stopped every few feet to have our picture taken, one of my derby idols, Fly Grrl Mel, said we were "epic." And her favorite part of the whole week. I pretty much pooped my suit at that point.

And yes, the suits were really really hot, and I was really really sweaty. But totally worth it.

Here, Styxx and I demonstrate proper form for the move I like to call "The Skull Candi." You're welcome.

- And most definitely, this:

The Thunder From Down Under. Possibly the best night of my entire life, and absolutely the high point of the week for me. It was everything I wanted and so, so much more. It was Magic Mike come to life, right in my face, and I loved every minute of it. I screamed so much that I lost my voice for a week (which means I spent most of RollerCon sounding like Peter Brady), I played the bongo drums on one guy's bare butt cheeks, I mimed grating cheese on another guy's abs, and when the guy next to me in the picture asked  where I was from, I just screamed, "I DON'T EVEN KNOW!!!" Once again, I don't think I really need to talk much more about it, because my face just says it all.

Many, many heartfelt thanks to the people who helped make it awesome - most especially those with me in the picture above: Liz Tailher, Bruiser Ego, Kid Seditious, and Italy. These girls spent more time with me that week then they probably would've liked, and I definitely saw more of Italy's naked bum than I ever expected (I swear, if that girl wasn't so freaking lovable, I'd hate her for being so hot; but it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE not to love her.) (Even when she gets numbers from guys everywhere you go)(And even when she makes out with one of the Thunder From Down Under guys)(Oops maybe I wasn't supposed to say that)(But it's totally true)(Sorry, Italy!) But they put up with me through MY highs and lows all week, and they made the hard stuff worth it.

And they're all definitely better looking than a newborn baby.