She was a super hero on roller skates! As she skated out to the court, the crowd cheered wildly! She wore sequined shorts and black fishnet stockings and her hair was stuffed into a sparkly helmet with two long braids coming out the sides. Tattoos covered her arms, legs, and de’colletage and the glittery eyeshadow and dark blue lipstick was as dramatic as the tail of a peacock. She was a roller derby queen!
Steami Rolla was her name and she was a real roller derby queen. She was the kind that had a day job and family, cooked dinners for her family, drove in carpools with the kids, married, divorced, drank beers with the girls on Tuesday nights and dreamed of a vacation to Hollywood and a hotel on the beach. I was in awe of her.
The music vibrated through the auditorium and the crowd felt the tribal beats of the derby. Steami led her teammates around the track stretching their hips and warming up their legs. The clock on the wall counted down to game time and I grew in anticipation of what was to be my first roller derby experience. The track filled with both teams skating round and round…a moving kaleidoscope of color, energy, and a plethora of curves of the feminine variety.
And then it all began… jams, blocks, pivots, and lots of determination to break through the line for the point. Steami Rolla and her team skated, fell on their knee’s and derriere’s. They pushed and bumped and I think there was even a jab here and there. It was fast and fun and all I could think of was why I didn’t join the team years ago when I had the chance.
Tonight though, I sat on the front row of the show. I was in ear shot of the coach while she shouted her instructions. I could watch closely as Teri Tanker and Killer Queen came back to the bench to catch their breath from a jam. I watched and observed each woman and thought about their story. How did they come to be a roller derby skater? What did they do off the track, were they married, what kind of job did they have, and just how much money did they spend on all of those tattoos? Mostly, I became mesmerized at how each of them owned her womanhood.
These roller derby queens were real women. They came in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There were slender athletic women and there were those who had all of those extra curves and tummy rolls which so many of us feel ashamed of and hide. These queens seemed to have an amazing acceptance of themselves and seemed to celebrate with form-fitting, sequined and ruffled attire. Their attitudes were refreshing!
The stands filled with cheers from folks genuinely enjoying a good rival. They gasped when skaters fell and clapped when they broke through the blocks. Little starstruck girls sat over the balcony bars looking down at skaters in hopes of getting the closest look at their idols. I am sure many of them were dreaming of being a roller derby queen someday too.
The game was divided into two halves of exhilarating competition. I spent more time studying my program and learning each skater’s roller derby name than I did keeping up with how many jams were happening. Break-U-Bones Barbie and Pam da Bam Bam were some, and who could forget, Debbie the Destroyer? What fun to live for a couple hours on the track with your alter ego name!
The Violet Vixens won that game against the Raucous Rachel’s, 204-189. It was a good game and not only did I learn about roller derby, I took away new thoughts and an overwhelming pride of being a woman. These roller derby queens were strong and empowered women. The very essence of being a woman was embraced as they skated round the track with determination, strength, spirit and, oh so much flair! They worked as a team and lifted each other up even if they were on opposing sides. It was the ultimate of divine femininity and the power of womanhood.
As I left that evening, I felt a transcend of my worth. I loved being a woman. I loved being part of this tribe called, Womanhood. I would vow to be better at loving my life, my body and celebrating myself. I could not wait to live in this new found empowerment. My evening at the roller derby had transformed and enlightened me. Even though I probably will never really lace up skates and be in the derby, I was aligned with these women…In my heart, I was a true roller derby queen!