punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Put a wimp on the derby for ya...

So yesterday, I was a bouncer for the DC Rollergirls. It was... fun... sorta.

First, I am not the bouncer type. I hate being mean to people and in a good fight, I am usually the first down. Second, I am not sure who is with the team or who wasn't. I knew volunteers and "trusted volunteers" (bouncers, merchants, and other people who handled money) because we all had wristbands. I knew some of the core staff. The press had badges. And the girls/refs on skates and stuff were obvious. But when someone's significant other, parent, or whatnot wanted back behind the scenes? Uh... sorry? Last game I was a bouncer, I guarded the practice track and the merchants table. All I had to do was be a dick to people who wanted more chairs (this bout, the DC Armory fixed this problem by having no extra chairs out), or wanted to let their kids roam around the practice track (no sir, that's dangerous, you're a terrible parent).

This time, I got snatched from a relatively easy job and was asked to guard the locker room. All jokes aside, I did not see any girls in various states of disrobing. That would have been extremely nosy and rude. This job was pretty intense, however, as people tried to sneak in the locker room in the hour I had to guard it. Most intruders thought it was the bathrooms, with is an easy mistake because of its location and a sign that looked VERY similar to the international man/woman symbols. Sadly, last bout, there were some pretty targeted thefts, according to out Bout Coordinator. As in "go through purse, steal credit cards, spend on them during the bout" kind of thefts. Yeesh. Other intruders were people with really flimsy excuses. "I... ah... left something in there." I'd tell them to go find a rollergirl who would vouch for them. I never saw them again. After about 20 minutes of this, I got this really rock-hard tough guy exterior. I even got sarcastic.

"Yes, I am an asshole. With any luck, your life will have me as the biggest asshole you have ever met. I would suggest you complain to management in the manner which you have been treated, and maybe I'll get fired, and that will show me! Brag to your friends on how you got me fired, but your road to fame and fortune all starts with me not letting you pass..."

Luckily, I'd say 95% of the people I had to turn away were totally cool about having to go around the bleachers to the operational rest rooms. And no one got physically confrontational, thank god. These are not like congoers, which are nerdy and easily dominated (sorry). Some of these people are drunk and a little frustrated and horny. Some even look like urban gangster wannabes. I did see two people size me up and think better about ... whatever they were gonna do. At the time, I thought, "I'll be scared later. Right now I have to look like I wouldn't mind a fight, if anything because it would cure my boredom."

It was also frustratingly next to the "Cafeteria," which is really a concession stand. I smelled crispy hot dogs and french fries the entire time. I ended up eating some, and it was as good as it smelled, let me tell you.

The girls were supportive of me being there. "You keeping us safe?" Yes, ma'am. I joked with a few, saying to one, "How do I know you're a REALLY roller girl? You can get those skates anywhere, and spend lots of money on a costume, and spend weeks concocting an elaborate plan to sneak in! I am wise to you..." We both came to the same conclusion. "If you spent all the money to look that good, you deserve to sneak in."

You have ANY idea how much professional skates cost? Not mention the wheels which need replaced frequently.

Anyway, I got relieved of that duty and helped out as a rover, which was confusing, because in a mass crowd, I don't have the skills to notice anything "funny." So I didn't. Then the head of security had me do his job a few times while he took much-needed breaks. His job? Guard the dugout. My post was right on the edge of the track. I was closer to the yellow line than most people who sit on the floor in the danger zone. Refs were whipping so close to me, I could feel the wind as they passed by, and when the girls rolled by, the thunder of their skates on the wood floor reverberated in my chest. That's pretty thrilling.

I also got asked to be a ticket collector. Our fearless leader, O'Canadoll, seemed to be harried as she was short staffed. There were a few no-shows, and a few balls got dropped as far as informing her of certain important things.

This was the season opener ("Back to School"), and since the new Debry-based film "Whip It" was coming out, we were promoting that. The people I spoke to already sad this film ROCKED and was "funny, sweet, and still satisfyingly violent." I asked some of the girls, "Did it bother you that so many ilegal moves are used like punching, clotheslining, and the like?" "Not at all," most of them said with an impish grin.

I should also point out that the last bout, Scare Force One vs. DC Demoncats, was possibly the most aggressive bout I have seen in a while. LOTS of penalties. I did see some more arm swinging, which did not go unnoticed by the refs. I know a lot of people not used to the current rules of the sport may say with sarcasm, "Oh, noo.... arm swinging? In roller derby?? How awful!" But keep in mind that nowadays, it's not like pro-wrestling, and so hitting, punching, elbowing, and intentionally injuring another opponent is looked as crass and immature, and this is the first game I had seen where someone was ejected (although she had been injured earlier on, so I didn't know what she had been ejected for). I guess it's now reached the level of football, where you see some "dodgy moves" that get penalized, but the DCRG have not gotten up to hockey fights yet. I have yet to see two girls actually beat each other up (and it would be stupid, because they would be completely ejected from the game almost immediately). Hell, even yelling at the ref would be grounds for ejection. But this game... was certainly spirited.

The visiting team, the Wilmington Ruff Rollers, which was pitted against the Cherry Blossom Bombshells (heavy with fresh meat), had the kind of coach you expect to see at basketball games. He didn't throw chairs or anything, but he was certainly... present and heavy on the gestures. I was surprised it was a guy, which may be sexist of me.

Scarlet worked her 11-year-old ass off. Like her older sister at Otakon, Scarlet more that stepped up to the plate as far as working the volunteer thing. She worked pretty tirelessly, pausing only to hang out with me. She threw candy to fans, handed out schedules, and carried a lot of heavy stuff back and forth. And always came back for more. What a trooper!

In contrast, we saw some people who brought kids, and a few of those kids were utter brats. In a kid's defense, though, you can't bring a kid to an event like this and then just ignore them. For one thing, kids had very short attention spans; it's part of how they learn so quickly. You don't feed them anything interesting, they make their own fun and with their limited social skills, this often gets in the way of adults. I see it all the time inside and outside of sporting events, fairs, fireworks, and the like.

All in all, a good game. I got a workout, Scarlet was awesome to hang out with, and I wish all the girls the best season. I have seen them start as a bunch of girls rolling around in a Rossyln parking garage to now getting about 2000 fans to show up to some of their games.
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