Monday, August 15, 2011

derby vision

It often feels like roller derby happens in a bubble of non-reality.  This past weekend I drove four hours to NSO and play in a three game invitational with the Gas City Rollers and for a just about two whole days the rest of my life didn't exist.  I had no bills to pay, work to be done, no family to care for, no problems at all.  The whole of my person cared about just two things: playing and officiating derby. 

Don't worry, be derby.

I'm guessing here, but I think I'm not the only one experiences derby tunnel vision.  For instance, I just friended Cherri Blaster from Deathbridge on facebook.  Cherri's religious and political views?  She lists them both as: Derby.  Her favorite quote is Sk8 or Die. 

I'm almost certain that Mr and Mrs Blaster provided Cherri with a rounded education in literature, science and rock music and that somewhere under the girl who wears panties on her head is a three dimensional woman with well thought-out political convictions and a complicated personal history.  She may not even list 'wicked ass jammer' on her CV.   

But what the fuck do I care?  She's a derby and that's pretty much all that matters when we're both wearing skates.  The only real question is, jam or block?

Sad Cherri Blaster
Picture by Sandra DeeVil, courtesy of Smackbook Pro

Derby takes away my mundane problems the same way a coma would.  I'm in an altered state of mind.  When practicing, playing, even thinking about derby, the To Do list is wiped clean from my head and my world becomes a very simple, abet painful, place. I know my job: skate, block, party.  I stop even responding to my given name.  It is very much like what I think being hypnotised would be like.  I look like myself, I even act like me, but I'm quite open to the most outrageous suggestion.

It makes sense.  When playing derby, you need to apply your full attention to the task otherwise someone is knock your ass into the bleachers.  You learn quickly that worrying about the electric bill or the state of your marriage can hurt badly because it stopped you from keeping your eye on that big bitch that's been trying to sit in your lap all night or, worse, you let the jammer go by untouched.  Even the deeply entrenched stuff gets pushed aside: self consciousness, feelings of inferiority, that chronically itchy spot on your shoulder.

It's a Pavlovian conditioning to become single minded whenever the derby gear is is donned.  When the tights come on there is no illness, no crime, no war, no poverty, no Big Stuff.  There is only derby.

It's beautiful.

At first it took awhile to switch off my faculty for critical thinking but now I find it comes shockingly easy.  I have several professors from college who would be horrified.  I can go from responsible, rational adult to someone who is not only willing, but eager, to use her ass to beat you into submission in under 60 seconds.

Derby causes as reversal of the regular rules of social interactions.  When a good friend who happen to be playing on the opposite teams tells me in a voice muffled by my backside to 'fuck off' mid-jam I feel extraordinarily pleased.  Or another friend, also on the other side, takes a minute after the game to mention that I am extremely annoying and she's sick of seeing my name bar, well, I just swell up with pride.   

This is why we have pseudonyms.  To protect our responsible adult minds from the single minded punk ass hooligan that is our derby personality.  To be able to look someone in the eye after tell you that they twisted their ankle on their own ass.  And to be able to wear fishnets and booty shorts in public without feeling like a jerk.

Now I'm back home, and the regular stuff is crashing down on me, I'm finding switching from derby brain back into normal person isn't nearly as easy.  Mr Hyde doesn't want to be Dr Jekyll quite yet.  Mr Hyde was having fun.  Maintaining this blog is one way to segue myself, to lessen the jarring impact of switching between sociopathic derbyland and my regular mama self who is quite polite, thankyouverymuch, and tries to stay out of the way of danger.  A little transition before I put on the brakes to keep myself from face planting.

But I am looking forward to helping out at our freshmeat practice tonight.  I love meeting new skaters and watching the cranky buds of future derby girls take root and blossom.  To see the ability to focus on the game develop and the willingness to let the rest fall away, at least for the moment. 

To slip into what the new agey folks like to call the Now, as generally sweaty and unsavory as that moment may be, is as good for the rest of your life as six months of therapy or a tropical vacation.

Besides bruises, amazing butt muscles and nothing to wear that doesn't have a derby team logo on it, this clean scrubbing of my mind is what I am left with after practice and bouts.  I think that after not thinking about anything more than hitting and being hit, I feel quite refreshed and motivated to knock a few things off the To Do list.  More appreciative of my loved ones.  It is, in actual fact, much more wholesome than what any smack-talking, booty blocking derby girl might have you believing when watching her on the track.

Or not.  Frankly, derby brain doesn't want to think about it anyway.  It just skates, blocks and parties.

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