Day 8 : LA Derby Dolls

LA Derby Dolls

Get ready!

If you’ve ever bemoaned the legroom on an economy airplane, get ready to be shocked by the sideshow-circus-level-of-contortions that will be required of your body to sit in the stands at an LA Derby Dolls game. In fact, be prepared to “get to know” your fellow attendees a lot better than you know most of your relatives.

That the benches were made from hard concrete didn’t phase me in the least. It fit in well with the underground/warehouse/girl power/fight club kind of theme. But let’s just say I’m enormously glad I got there early enough to snag an aisle seat. At 5’8″, there was literally no way my legs would fit into the space allotted, especially considering the large-ish men that decided to flank me on all sides. I can’t even imagine what someone in the over 6-foot category would do. Oh wait… I do. They pretty much just have to sit on top of you.

Mirror Ball Roller Skate

Oooh, shiny! A roller skate mirror-ball hangs high above the track.

Of course, this was for VIP tickets. General Admission had all the legroom in the world: it was standing room only. Yeah… no thanks. My lazy bee-hind needs a place to park itself.

In all fairness, though, you don’t really go to a warehouse roller derby game for the accommodations. You’re there to drink, watch some tough women smash into each other, check out the vendors selling an array of skull-themed jewelry, and buy some cupcakes… all to the soundtrack of indie rock music.

Speaking of tracks, though, there is an actual game to be watched, and it’s fortunate that you are handed a program with the rules explained. They even played an animated video on all four of their big-screens, just before the bout was to begin. But even so, it still took me a while to figure out what the heck was going on. Mostly I just followed “my team’s” star-helmeted Jammer around the track and pretended I could tell when she was actually scoring points. Fortunately, they also had video scoreboards up as well.

A very loud, older, platinum blonde-haired woman behind me; who I couldn’t help but imagine had just hopped off the plane from her casino job in Atlantic City; frequently yelled louder than a drunken woo girl right into my ear. My right ear, in fact. Once I willed the hearing in that ear to shut down (it wasn’t “legitimate” ear-assault, you see), I was able to discern that at least she was good at pretending to know what was happening in the rink. Which actually helped me follow along a bit better. So… WOOO! for loud ladies!

Roller Derby Meta Image

A very meta photographer’s photograph.

If it sounds like I had a terrible time, well… don’t let the snarky sarcasm fool you. My first impression when I walked in, from dealing with the security to the ticket counter to pretty much anyone there working in a staff capacity, was amazement at how nice everyone was. No rude manhandling. Enormously polite interactions with everyone. For someone who frequently has no idea how to behave in public, it was great to be able to ask a question and not be angrily barked at.

Sure, the seats are hard and cramped. The PA system was virtually unintelligible due to the sound reflections in the building. The tickets, admittedly, are on the pricy side. And, a good half to three-quarters of the time I had no idea what I was watching on the track. But damn if I wasn’t mesmerized by those women-on-wheels anyway. Enough so that I can see myself making it back again sometime.

And hey, take that San Diego! Los Angeles won! Whoooooo!

(At least that’s what it said on the scoreboard.)




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  1. Pingback: Intrepid Introvert | Day 9 : The Dark Side of the Introvert

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