Aug 16, 2007

I Went to Vegas With 3 Blondes

On the plane ride out I sat next to a very smart woman whose been involved in roller derby long enough to answer my forty bazillion questions about how her very successful league runs. When she said she’d love to answer some questions I bet she had no idea what she was really saying. She very nicely answered every question I could scour my brain for and she didn’t even pretend to not see me the rest of the weekend so that I wouldn’t ask her any more questions. It was very encouraging.

We landed in Vegas at one in the afternoon and it felt like it was 110° in the shade. I had a bout at 5:30 on Freemont Street so we were on a pretty tight schedule. After we checked in and found our room I packed my skate bag, changed clothes and we took the old red double-decker shuttle down to Freemont. I quickly found my team mates and exchanged hugs and nervous smiles, I signed waivers and after doing just those two things I was soaked in sweat. The heat was devastating to me. We suited up and practiced and I was ready to pass out. Let me tell you that Freemont Street is also slippery. My Witch Doctors held there own on the corners and I didn’t give up any speed taking a fall on Freemont sends you sliding and sliding until you hit something, kinda like ice. It was fun but also a pain in the butt when trying to stop skidding, get on your skates and back onto the track.

I played as Minnie Hurl and my number was $1.98, I even wore a price tag on my helmet. I blocked in the 2nd then jammed in the 4th and I was already trying not to have a stroke. After getting my fatigued and boiling ass knocked into the crowd no less than twice I knew I couldn’t jam again, I could barely get my breath so after blocking in the 6th I begged to trade out in the 8th, and just blocked again. It all happened so fast I barely remember anything. Annsanity filmed it, and I am dying to see it. Having endurance and having endurance in 110° heat are two totally different things. So we got beat, but we didn’t get skunked, I wanna say the score was 17 to 42. Afterwards, all I wanted to do was get back to the hotel and let cold cold water run over my shoulders and off my head for an hour or two.

I’m not sure what happened after that, I think I remember a few beers, black jack a cheap
cosmopolitan and a stripper pole, sorry that’s all I can remember. Friday morning after perhaps 5 hours of jet lagged sleep Annsanity rang our room, when I picked up and croaked “Hello?” all I heard on the other end was “Roller Derby Boot Camp in 10 minutes Bitches!” I didn’t even have time to shave my legs, we pulled on shorts and brushed teeth and packed up skates. We had to find a way out to the Flamingo Banks at the edge of the city. They didn’t run a shuttle ‘because they only wanted the most hard core masochist to show up. We were late, sore from dancing, dehydrated and hung over.

The Flamingo Banks is an outdoor skate rink in the middle of a park also housing some ball fields and a few skate board ramps. It was like heaven. Roller skating on a sealed cement track, painted with the local leagues colors and logo right in the middle, surrounded by a 4’ fence. Open to anyone and everyone FREE. I was astonished, impressed, envious and excited. Goodie Two Skates and her cohort Jawbreaker ran us through two hours of the most intense drills that even in an air conditioned state would’ve kicked my butt but as the sun climbed in the sky and the day heated up I was seriously loosing “it”. It didn’t help that I wore black shorts and a black tank, with my black pads and black helmet.

I have to pause to tell you about
Goodie Two Skates. This woman skates with such reckless abandon that I was in absolute awe. When standing in one spot yelling at us her long black curly hair points in all directions and her smirk hangs crooked. The way she stand screams confidence, she doesn’t suck anything in, paint anything up, wipe anything off and she certainly doesn’t make any excuses. She skated as if she were chasing the devil back to hell. And the way she fell and rolled and jumped with her hair flying in all directions and sweat and determination dripping down her back made me want to be her friend. She was like the feral love child of Pippy Longstocking and Captain Hook rolled into one glorious roller woman. It’s the first time I’ve seen a skater and thought “I want to be like that when I skate.” I later got to watch her skate on Freemont St. but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to drills; we skated in packs, we skated in lines, we skated in figure eights, we dropped, and
rolled, went backwards, did whips and pushes, sprinted, raced against ourselves and in general gave everything we had. I skated so hard, I got dizzy and rolled over to the side to get some water and take my helmet off. I had been beaten and was giving up. I sat, peeled off my pads and drank long from a luke warm bottle of water when I heard Goodie Two Skates congratulate everyone for making it through “Boot Camp”. Ten more stinking seconds between me and a proud claim to finish, and now I tell you all right here in front of God herself and the entire internet – next year I will not give in. No matter though, nobody really cared but me. Nine more skaters happily squished up against me while sitting on all our gear for the ride back to the hotel in the back of a truck. That’s just how skaters are.

On Friday afternoon we cooked while sitting in
seats on top of the engine of the old red double-decker bus out to Freemont Street for the last of the Challenge bouts. We saw the mixed gender bout. We watched Team USA beat The World and the crowd barely chanted U!S!A! which made me proud; after all we were the hosts. Then we watched the Referees Challenge: East vs. West but this was most lovingly referred to as the “Guys Bout” There were some girls and they were wild and skated hard and of course guess who was in that one? – Goodie Two Skates! Again she skated with the passion I have only seen Itzhak Perlman have while playing violin. She blocked by throwing her body and soul at those jammers and it was incredible. That bout went into sudden death and the last 60 seconds was skated so hard I thought my lungs would burst in sympathy. Next we watched Team Awesome vs. Team Rad battle it out in the most incredible show of skating skills I have ever seen complete with three leg whips, backwards blocking and more than a few Malachi Crunches.

The rest of Friday was a blur leading up to the Black and Blue Ball. We dressed up, drank and
danced. We twisted, pogoed, two stepped, we found partners to swing with, we got on stage and we took some crazy picks. We became one giant drunken writhing mass of flesh and black and blue fabric and sequins and vinyl and soon the casino had to come up to the second floor and shut the party down. I wasn’t sure why it all ended early until I went down and played black jack. According to the dealer, the chandeliers in the casino were shaking. The casino wasn’t ready for 1500 blockers in prom gear to let loose directly above the casino.

Saturday was spent in meetings and eating fabulous food. Saturday night we watched some
pick-ups at the Flamingo Banks. This was a wonderful event. Each roller woman brought two shirts to the banks, one black one white. The crowd was split down the middle and two long lines were formed and then every 5 girls participated in continuous jams, ending at the back of the line. There was only ten seconds between jams and so the action was non-stop and amazing. All skill levels played and everyone cheered for everyone. This was a perfect picture of a relaxed skater practicing among friends.

Saturday night we took a harrowing ride to the Double Down for a derby wedding with a cabbie who barely knew the road we were looking for much less where the Double Down was. I had to call information for him (no kidding) all the while Annsanity is telling him “The legitimacy of my baby is in your hands! I gotta get married at midnight!” We arrived at 11:57pm and promptly sent Joel across the street to buy a twelve pack because the bar was too packed to actually get inside to get a drink. But we all got married promising to support and love each other except when kicking each others asses on the track and then we all kissed and went drinkin’.

Sunday, I finally caught up on my sleep and we did a little Vegas. Annsanity and Joel left early for home so Boom Boom Martini, Stiletto Steel and I met up with Marshal Law for lunch at the little cafĂ© on the street at the Paris. Stiletto got to see the fountains and I got a great glass of wine and a chicken sandwich with caramelized onions and apple. Later that night we caught a hypnotist’s show at the Hard Rock – very funny stuff.

Somehow I missed some things. There was just so much and it starts to run together. Of course it doesn’t help that there were lots of drinks in between all these things (after the skating that is). There were marketing meetings and antics in and by the pool and dinner and drinks at the Peppermill with Bob Noxious of Flyin Squirrel. There was bad karaoke and women with moustaches drawn on in pen. There were short skirts everywhere and dancing and a bull ride at the Rockhouse Bar. Of course it was all fun because of the company I had. Thank you ladies for going with me and thank you to all those whom we met, see you again next year, when I’ll be bringing more friends and skaters and maybe even a fan or two (Dan? Jeff?)


Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,
Looks like you had so much fun! It is great to get away ever now and then and just have a weekend for yourself. I think it gives you the energy to be a Mom again.

We can all do the delightful days but you need to have recharged the batteries for the days when they won't eat anything...or they break your favourite necklace by mistake...or have the mother of all tantrums in the supermaket. Glad you enjoyed it. Take care, Olivia

Jenny said...

That day seemed to be the day I returned LOL!

Chrissy said...

that sounds AMAZING! i'm so happy you had a good time. i am officially inspired to attend next year's event.

arizona said...

Sounds as if Vegas was a great time for you and those who traveled with you. Sure wish I could've been there to watch you skate......and sweat. Now you know how the summers are out here in the desert Southwest!!! But you do get acclimated to the heat in a few years, and it's really not that bad.....besides, it is a dry heat. If you are going to come back to Vegas next year, please keep me informed of the dates, and I will do everything in my power to be out there for you and your Divas next year, I promise!!! In the meantime, get your team in Rockford together and start showing the Stateline area what a bunch of hard rockin', fast rollin' bunch of Divas you are!!

Jessi Louise said...

I went to Vegas in late July before and was shocked by the 115 temps. We stayed indoors until 4 PM everyday and then spent all night out. Vegas is the place to be nocturnal.
Looks like you had an awesome time, working up a good sweat and livin it up with your friends. I need a vacation like that!

Chrissy said...

oh yes, i forgot got to comment on the heat. here in east texas it's been about 105 for the last two weeks. it's been three years since i moved here from new york and i am still not quite acclimated.