Sunday, March 23, 2014

Saturday Night Houston Roller Derby

Hedy sent emails asking if we'd be up to taking in a Houston Roller Derby night at Bayou Center. This, after I sent her a photo of Jeanne in that new Camero Harem roller derby uniform celebrating her 44th birthday on wheels with Old Man Dan waving a poster for his Old Lady McGrady.
"Why don't we get a group together to see Houston's teams?" we asked each other. Sounded like a good idea and last night ES and I met Hedy and Jeff, Martin and Sonia, Rex and Cindy. (None of us officially representing the Greater East End Management District, but that is how we came to know one another.)
No onein our crowd but Hedy, Jeff and me had seen a bout or knew anything about the rules of the game. They'd never experienced the friendliness of team players as they greet you at the door and give you a high-five on the way out after the bouts. I've felt such camaraderie among the teams, both in Seattle and Houston. They play for the love of the game and all are volunteers. Houston Roller Derby is a nonprofit, formed in 2005 as a response to a nationwide revival of roller derby which began, of all places, in Austin in 2001.
Jeanne played in Seattle's Rat Lab boot camp for two years before being chosen for a team last fall. At 44 years of age, she is one of the oldest on the Camero Harem roster. Jeanne says she's the age of some the players moms. Doesn't stop her. Hope she doesn't sustain injuries while she's playing. Ever.
First bout last evening was between the Valkyries and the Brawlers. The Brawlers have Freight Train on their team. She is a fast and agile jammer who broke through the pack time after time. After the bout, Hedy left our seats to get Freight Train's autograph and a selfie.
ES is in foreign territory at a sporting event. He was happy to see what Jeanne actually does as a roller dereby team member, but I felt his spirit flagging as the evening wore on. I was sitting way forward in my seat the entire time, watching those jammers and seeing how their team mates made way for them.
Second bout of the night was faster. I fell in love with Bayou City Bosses' Big Bad Voodoo Dollie, though I couldn't connect her name with the number 9 on her back until the end of the evening. Houston's programs with small black/white photos can't match Seattle's big color programs in which it's easy to see team members faces and numbers.
Font and its size make team numbers impossible to read in semi-darkness. Photos in program are an inch square. But there she is and she is good.
In any case, Big Bad Voodoo Dollie was indefatigable, pushing through the pack time after time, dizzingly fast, falling and back on her feet in seconds. Again and again. Her team didn't win against the Psych Ward Sirens, but it sure was fun to watch her jam.
So, Old Lady McGrady in Seattle, I wish we'd been watching you jam the night away. Have fun and be careful. This is your mother speaking.



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