If ya’ll have been poking around the site, you know that I started my roller derby career with the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls. I’m one of those rare Portland natives (okay, I grew up in Beaverton), but when my husband and I got married, he was in a doctoral program at Indiana University. Of the two people that my sweetie met and befriended early on, one of them played roller derby, and things unfolded from there. After several lonely months, I had a reason to get out of the house, a physical outlet, a built-in group of friends, and a new love for this crazy sport.
This weekend, Bleeding Heartland will be playing in their very first WFTDA postseason, and they’re starting out in Division I, ranked #35. To celebrate, a bunch of players and former players were posting pictures from their first bouts on Facebook yesterday.
I’m not sure if this is my first bout, but it’s one of them.
Look at that form, people! Study it well. Then never do that.
The only things I really remember from my first bout it getting knocked into a group of fans from the opposing team, who then cheered loudly in my face – and the announcer saying, “Frisky Sour having a tough time getting through the pack here…”
Having my shortcomings narrated in real time was a novel, and sobering, experience.
There wasn’t much roller derby on the internet those days, other than some DNN textcasting. We got our information and inspiration from regional sources – Cincinnati, Ft. Wayne, Louisville, and Michigan. Our heroes were Sadistic Sadie, Jackie Daniels and Dot Matrix (both in Grand Raggedy at the time), and Racer McChaser.
When my friend and teammate visited Portland, she practiced with my future team, the Break Neck Betties. They were working on going to offense quickly if the other jammer exited the pack. This was a new concept for us, and we practiced it with difficulty. She also introduced one-footed toe taps, which I decided at the time were not entirely possible.
But in the ensuing years, Bleeding Heartland got their WFTDA status, dropped the home teams, focused on training, and this small college town of 80,000 people (plus 40,00 students) is being represented in Division I Playoffs.
Good work, ladies. I’ll be rooting for you from here!
Of course, I’ll be rooting harder for Portland. You understand.