Lansing Derby Vixens' Nast E. Dogbyte and Ludacrush
Although this is story is about a sport it is also extremely entertaining. YES - Roller Derby is a sport !
I was meeting with my financial advisor, Sara, going over my measly investments. During these meetings I usually just smile and nod because I am not much for understanding money investing lingo. A decision here, a signature there and within a few minutes we are done. The last meeting I had with her she revealed something about her that caused me to pause. Sara told me that she was a roller derby woman. My mind had visions of women flipping over railings, blood on the track and broken bones from seeing roller derby on television when I was a child. I looked across the desk at my always sweet and bubbly advisor with confused awe. She explained that the reincarnation of roller derby is different because of safety concerns. The women compete on a flat track. There is not a rail. Skaters are not to use elbows, back blocks, or use karate chops to the neck to impede competitor’s progress. It still sounded dangerous.
Sara asked me if I would be interested in being a referee. I considered the idea while holding back that I can barely walk let alone race around an oval on eight wheels. However, the thought of women in colorful costume battling it out intrigued me. I went to several practices for the Lansing Derby Vixens and was enlightened that these women are definitely serious about derby. They work their butts off three practices a week. I realized I could not commit to the time it would take for me to learn how to skate and learn derby rules well enough to be a referee. After few weeks we came up with the idea that I could be a commentator for their scrimmages and bouts. I caught the derby bug. I was all in and willing to do whatever I needed to be color commentator for derby events.
Cut to 10.10.10 – Mayhem at McMorran. I was traveling to Port Huron with excited, nervous anticipation. I was to be second commentator for the inaugural bout for both the Blue Water Derby Girls out of Port Huron and the Lansing Derby Vixens. The Derby Vixens have been working towards this first bout for over a year practicing, recruiting, holding fund raisers, doing community activism, nursing bruises and recovering from broken bones. The pressure that I felt to put on a good performance for the skaters and refs involved was amazingly high. I waited impatiently for the experienced commentator to arrive. As it came closer to time for the bout to start I collected details for what I would need to know just in case she did not arrive.
The arena was filled with anxious anticipation. Not only was this an inaugural bout for the derby girls the arena was filled with people that had never seen live derby before. There were 500 hundred people wondering what was going to happen before them. A cornicopia of thrill seekers getting into frenzy as time came closer for the beginning of the mayhem. I felt almost sick as I realized I was the only one holding a microphone, a clip board with the team’s lineups, a program with notes scribbled in it, chicken tenders, fries and two bottles of water. It was time to dig in and get this crowd educated, motivated and excited. Far away from home I was determined to show these people what this man can do.
The bout was full of smashing action. The score was constantly close and the lead flipped sides often. The women’s competition was fierce. Ladies were bumping and falling, pushing and whipping. And fortunately the medical team was only called once and it turned out to not be a major incident. In the final seconds the score was tied. The DJ began to play AC/DC’s song Thunderstruck. As I began to scream the words along with the song into the microphone the crowd bubbled over into hysteria. Yeah, yeah, they, they, they blew our minds. The coaches and teammates were on the sidelines screaming support for their fellow skaters. My mind raced. It was the final jam. The score was tied. Thunderstruck. There was a pause in play. Beatin’ in my heart. The whistle blew. Thunderstruck. The jam began and within seconds it was over again. Now we’re shaking at the knees. Lansing Derby Vixens score a point; called off the jam to win the bout. You’ve been thunderstruck! lansingderbyvixens.com