Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lunatic Fringe

I kind of dogged myself when I said in my last entry that I’ve never been good at a sport.  One of my good friends from back in the SCA days (a.k.a. Society for Creative Anachronisms, a.k.a. nerds who dress up in medieval garb and swing weapons at each other) reminded me that I was, in fact, pretty good at fencing.  That’s a sport.  In fact, it’s an Olympic sport!  I did foil, Spanish Florentine, and Elizabethan Rapier style sword-fighting, and yeah, I did get pretty good.  Stick ‘em with the pointy end, as they say.  Even came in second at the Baronial Champion’s Tournament one year.  So I shouldn’t have said that I’ve never been good at any sport, because I have.  I suppose the only difference between regular sports and sword-fighting is that you:
1. Get to dress up,
2. Adopt a persona,
3. Hang out on the fringes of society…

Oh.  Duh. 

It all makes perfect sense now.

When I think of it that way, it’s no wonder that I’ve stuck with the roller derby thing.  Shimmery stockings.  Character building.  Beautifully tattooed women with ‘tudes to match.  It’s basically the SCA, minus the campouts; just replace the homemade Meade with Pabst Blue Ribbon, and add skates where there would otherwise be swashbuckler boots. 

Yet, it continues to amaze me that I’m still in this – and apparently in it for the long haul.  You see, I tend to corner the market on “fleeting interests”.  I’ll notice something, try it out just to have a new adventure or two, and then I’m done with that flower and flitty-float away to the next one.  So… WHAT am I still doing with skates on my feet?!

That’s a pretty easy question to answer; you know – friends, fun, adventure, fitness, challenge… I really don’t think I need to repeat my last several blog entries to get my point across.  But I have to admit – I am actually pretty astounded with myself for sticking it out this long.  It’s not all sparkly fishnets and jammer panties, of course; there’s plenty of hard work and frustration and insecurity involved.  And if I hadn’t started skating on my own time in the parks and at the rec center, I might not have made it onto one of the teams.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have.  I had a looong way to go when I started (remember the blog about how I damn near passed out and had to repeatedly roll over to the benches to wait out the rest of the drills?), and I still have an even longer way to go before I can get where I want to be.  But now I’ve got my MVP pass to Rollercon, and the week after that the hubby and I are traveling to Portland for a WFTDA ref workshop – and all of that takes place in late July/August.  So I guess we’re not planning on flitty-floating away from derby any time soon.  (Or ever.  Roller derby is everywhere!  From Portland to Seattle we shall travel that week.  Mo Quadzilla, prepare to meet one of your biggest fans!)
Oh, Mo - you had me at "How to jump the inside line."
Last weekend I got to go watch seven girls from our league battle it out in their very first interleague bout against the AZRD Brawlarinas in Phoenix.  What an amazing experience.  I’ve been trying to make it down to a few bouts here and there around the state, but never before got to watch some of my own friends and favorite people right there on the track, giving it all their might.  Holy crap they were awesome!  And though I was sitting there amongst those girls before it was time for them to skate and thinking to myself, “Oh these poor things, I would be absolutely terrified right now,” I did feel a tiny twinge of envy when they got out there on that track and tore it up in front of hundreds of people.  I’ve never been so proud to be a part of High Altitude Roller Derby as I was that day.  We are a fledgling league who have only been skating together for a few months, and we are going to be one hell of a force to be reckoned with – I can already tell.  My heart swells up to my eyeballs when I think about it; even as I write that last sentence.

Yeah.  I totally know those chicks in pink.
During my off-skates time, I’ve sallied forth in my vain attempts to put myself “out there” in the real world, as I’d originally planned on doing this year, and lemme tell ya, it’s been rough.  Looking for employment, continuing to try to make contact with people who know people in the video production/multimedia biz, hoping to get involved in a certain locally-produced zombie/horror film (you have NO IDEA how unbelievably right up my alley that is), even trying to send some of my writing samples out –- no one seems to be paying much attention, so derby is the one thing right now that I’m not feeling rejected at.  Thank GOD for roller derby.

So, to sum up my progress in a nutshell: 

When I started back in early January:
I could barely do 5 laps around the track without getting winded.  As a side-effect of returning from an exciting summer in NYC to nothing special going on in Dragstaff, I was drinking more vodka & mimosas than I care to admit – let’s just say that I was beginning to spend more on liquor by far than I now spend on monthly league dues + athletic club membership.  I was also planning to begin a starvation diet (because that’s the only thing that works, right?) based on public humiliation (see the first entry to this blog) and attempting to shame myself skinny.  I didn’t have that many friends either… the ones I hung out with while I was in school are all at least 20 years younger than me, and now that I’m out of school, there are no more student film projects to get talked into or crews that I’m assigned to work on.

Are you lookin' at my bum?  You are, aren't you?  Bum-looker.
My personal best (as of 3/13) is 25 laps in 04:56.  I might have a mimosa every now and then or a girlie little cosmo, but that’s it (unless there’s an afterparty with the girls – then the rules temporarily change!).  Because I don’t like to drink too much the night before I go skating, and I go skating almost every day, so… yeah.  I’ve learned to cook things that involve chicken and brown rice and vegetables, and have managed to lose some weight along the way, but mostly I’ve started to build muscle, and I can see the difference in my waist, thighs, and booty.  In fact, I actually have a booty now, rather than what was beginning to look like a couple of pillows smashed together and melted into a pair of Parthenon columns; used to be you couldn’t really tell where the butt on me ended and the thigh began.  AND I now have 53 new friends – all of them interesting, unique, and amazing in their own way. 

It deserves repeating:  Thank GOD for roller derby.