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“There’s nothing to do around here.”
That’s what I hear from a lot of people in these parts: the same folks who can’t seem to take their noses out of their Smartphones.
Well, for those of you who are looking for something more satisfying than following Kardashian tweets or playing Angry Birds, I’ve two words for you: Roller Derby.
I didn’t discover Roller Derby was in our area: My pal Bob did. He extended an invitation to the wife and me to join Bob and his “the wife,” for an evening of sporting fun.
I’m still unclear on how Bob discovered this gem. He seems to find a lot of things, though.
The action takes place at a rink in Appomattox. Trust me, the 45-minute drive is worth it.
The last time I’d seen roller derby was when I saw the movie “Kansas City Bomber” as a lad. For those of you not familiar with this flick, it featured Raquel Welch as a roller derby star named K.C. Carr. As I was at the height of adolescence when I saw the movie, here’s what I remember about it: It featured Raquel Welch. After that, things get a bit hazy, it being Raquel Welch and all.
That movie was made in the early 70s, the height of the sport’s popularity. It had a lot of preening, tight uniforms and “cat fights.”
So, I wasn’t sure what we’d get when Bob, the wives and I rolled up to AJ Skateworld in Appomattox: I was expecting either a WWE-type crowd of screaming maniacs or a bunch of dicey, leering creeps.
It didn’t take long to realize that we’d found some wholesome and fun entertainment. (OK, Bob found it.)
The Blackwater Rollers, which is the all-female local team, was facing the East Coast Devastation, a co-ed squad.
The game is easy to understand and you can get into the spirit of things fairly quickly.
For instance, all of the Rollers have clever monikers: Naughty Nini, Mighty Mouse, Slam Chowder and KrackHer Bones are just a few.
We imagined the wives as skaters, and what monikers we could hang on them. We came up with Anne-ger Mismanagement and Lynne-credible Pain.
We even discovered a local connection, when one of the assistant coaches turned out to be one of Bob’s auditors. My favorite? Krash Klown, a blocker who skates while wearing face paint.
She may look like she’s a lot of fun, but the Klown can lay a pasting on a transgressor. She did so on many occasions against the Devastation.
Another good one was Indy Rock, who scored the lion’s share of points for the Rollers, including a couple of “Grand Slams.”
Still, the Rollers were beaten fairly handily, 125-62. No matter, the ladies all skated off with big smiles on their faces. Better yet, their fans seemed equally satisfied.
At a mere seven bucks, Blackwater roller derby seemed like a fair deal to me. The two-hour show featured an explanation of the rules, plenty of derby action AND a hula hoop show at halftime.
Fans were invited to participate in a hula hoop extravaganza at the end of the demo. Bob’s idea that he and I jump into the hip-hooping hootenanny got the melt-down look in response from the wives.
Another note: We were able to sit very close to the action. You are warned though, that seating at either end of the track is called the “suicide seats.” That’s because you run the chance of finding Krash Klown or Terminal Velocity (one of the Devastation) landing atop you.
On this evening, no such skater-fan encounters took place, and I felt pretty good about the fact that we stared down danger by setting up in the suicide seats. Although, I’ll admit that I had the wife positioned slightly in front of me, telling her “I want you to have the best seat, Honey.”
The Rollers next skate at home against the Charlottesville Derby Dames on Saturday, September 24.
You may wish to go check out the fun. Or you may elect to do something else.
Just don’t say there’s nothing to do, however. That just isn’t the case.