When I was in junior high I went skating every Friday night with my best friend Bobbie Jo. Afterwards we would stand around in the alley and smoke cigarettes. I saved my allowance for months to buy a pair of speed skates with pink wheels and when I finally got them, I oiled them every Friday afternoon so they were shiny for Friday night. Bobbie’s mom or my mom would drop us off at the rink and we would get a locker, put our skates on, reapply our lip-gloss, scope out who was already there and then proceed to skate for the next four hours to “Rapper’s Delight” or some such music. Sometimes we’d form up into a big pack of kids dancing on our skates doing something we called the “swivel hip” and sometimes the DJ would come on out and do something called “rubber leg” that always mystified me but looked extra cool. (Ok, insert Edith Bunker howling “Those were the dayaays!” here.)
Yesterday, our local paper ran this story. It moved me. In fact, I was so moved I dug out my speed skates, dusted them off and went. That’s right you can now introduce me as Bombadee, stay at home mom, blogger and roller derby girl.
I went by myself. I had no idea what to expect. Would the whole place be revamped just for roller derby? Would I get my butt kicked the first night like when a gang jumps the new girl in and then goes to knock back a few beers laughing and talking “I wonder if that new girl will come back after I put gum in her hair HAR HAR HARDY HAR!”. Would I be like super star the first night coming out of retirement and everyone would gasp and say “Holy crap where have you been? We need you on our team immediately!” Would there be an actual bout? Would we we run drills, would we just skate all night?
I got that same old tingly feeling in my stomach when I pulled up and it was still only $3.00 to get in $5.00 if you needed skates and I didn’t. Everything was almost exactly the same even “Rapper’s Delight” and the pack of cool kids doing a swivel hip around the rink, I almost choked there was so much déjà vu. Well, there were a few differences; the DJ runs things from a PC instead of a turntable now and there were 30 grown women dressed in black sweating their behinds off out there warming up, but otherwise I felt like I'd stepped into a time machine.
I of course was nervous and babbled to anyone that would listen and was happy to find a lot of other new ladies to talk to. It turns out the established ladies were super nice and super inclusive too. I even kinda know one of the ladies already (Hi Lois Slain). We skated and skated and ran drills in the middle, practiced stopping and practiced grouping up and all sorts of other things that will makes sense to me soon but in the mean time will cause my thighs to feel like Jello tomorrow. We were asked to think about what our Derby Name will be and I just wrote it in without thought - I’ll be Bombadee. I can’t wait to go back next Thursday.
Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Rockford Skate Co.