98 degrees. 7 o'clock in the p.m. and it's almost 100 degrees. And I'm standing in front of an indoor soccer facility looking into the sun, accessing the line, and realizing that perhaps we should have bought the tickets online.
No, we weren't there to see soccer. We were there for the roller derby.
The line was an indicator on how what, when I was a child, I had considered the female equivalent to pro wrestling was growing in popularity. My sweat was dripping sweat when we finally got in the door. By that time, we'd learned that the reason the man in front of us had a lawn chair was that the place only had bleachers and they were sure to be filled at this hour. They were. In fact, several hundred people were simply sitting on the floor (not in chairs on the floor but really on the floor) four rows deep from the edge of the skating track. And unlike what I remembered from the early 70s, there were no ramps. This was just women in pin up girl uniform/costumes skating around in circles while announcers energized the crowd. Since the match we watched first was a 138 to 12 pouncing, the nailbiting excitement the "color analyst" was trying to ignite just wasn't happening.
Oh yeah . . . and the air conditioning wasn't working.
But we were definitely entertained. One announcer had a mohawk which stood at least 2 ft above his head and was sprayed so stiff that when he walked through the door in front of us and it got aught in the door frame it simply made a scraping sound and rebounded.
The names were fun. We had Baby Face Assassin, Bobituary, Tamityville Horror, Holy Miss Moley, Crash Limb-Brawl, Emma Propriate, Basket Casey, Creeping Beauty, Jekyll and Heidi, Ivana B. Sedated and many, many more.
The crowd surprised me. Not just because of its size but, while I anticipated the bangs, boobs, and tats, I didn't expect to see so many folks in their 40s and 50s looking very maternal/paternal and eagerly supportive. In many ways, they looked as though they could have been there as grandparents at a soccer match and instead got sucked into some parallel universe.
Without the ramps the bout itself was fine but not a thrill a minute. Round . . . and round . . . and then round, and round, and round and then the whistle blew and points were tallied. I quickly caught on to the Jammer, blocker and other roles but when one is preoccupied with stirring up a breeze with the program rather than digging into its explanation of nuances one is stuck with what she can pick up visually. I saw it as up close NASCAR without the motors and with better fashions.
Still, having started the evening with home cooked risotto and salmon and great conversation, this outing proved to be exactly what I wanted -- a chance to do something I hadn't done before. Standing in the chair, fanning, and sweating cut the time we spent there to a minimum and our Blockbuster flick pick was more buster than we had hoped, but at the end of the evening I reveled in the fact that I have friends who can (a) cook, (b) try new things, (c) understand when I'm melting, and (d) make as much fun of a bad Dennis Quaid movie (skip Horsemen) as me.