“Come to see victory/ In the land called Fantasy”

Apparently, I just can’t seem to get enough of the Ithaca League of Women Rollers and watching home bouts. I drove to an away bout last night to watch the Sufferjets play the Utica Roller Girls.


I’ve been engrossed in my share of sporting events, but I just don’t know what it is about roller derby.  Yeah, yeah, I know–it all has to do with prurient fantasies brought on by watching women play rough with each other, right?  Sure, being a straight male, I’m certainly not above anything like that.  I’m comfortable admitting the possibility that I’m just a slimeball.  But that’s not it.

After all, the point of having a fantasy is sitting back and imagining yourself being engaged with the object(s) of your fantasy, right?  But do I have slimeball thoughts about these ladies?  Despite basic biological tendencies, not really.  Between being taken, being of advanced age, and knowing that my deteriorating eskrima skills would be of little use against a roller-girl beatdown–those are enough to keep those types of fantasies in check.

I hear you scoffing, “You are so full of shit!” like Jack Lemon to Kevin Spacey in Glengarry Glen Ross.  But hear me out.

I’m thinking back to the John Waters quote on discipline from his “10 Best Pieces of Advice for Functional Freaks.”  Especially the bit about how…

Discipline is not anal compulsion; it’s a lifestyle that breeds power.

I think that’s the real object of my fantasy where roller derby folks are concerned.  Any derby organization consists of folks busting their asses to do something out of pure love.  I’m not just talking about the skaters putting in hours-upon-hours into training, either.  They and the whole gaggle of folks behind them–volunteers who officiate, run the merch tables, run the scoreboard, &c.–put in a crapton of work to put a season of bouts together, to say nothing about the service projects they do.

I’ve watched these bouts over the past couple of years and I realized that their power isn’t in the fact that they skate and whoop ass at the same time.  Their power is in their willingness to do whatever they have to do in order to get to skate and whoop ass, and do it for the love.  That’s a little difficult for me to get my head around.

Sure, I love to write.  But while I may not have any expectations about making enough money off it to quit my dayjob, I also love the fact that the one piece I got into the McSweeney’s website still gives me some juice with other writers five years later.  And that folks seem to like my writing enough to publish it and sometimes, pay me for it. I am not one of those writers who go, “Oh, I’d do this even if I never got published.” 

The point is, it’s inspiring to watch a group of people can put in so much work into something other than their own self-aggrandizement.  The least I can do with that inspiration is to get back on my horse and keep putting in my time in the ‘shed, despite the writing troubles I’ve been bitching about lately.  I’ve got upcoming story deadlines, stories that need revision, and rejected pieces to resubmit. Not to mention, a conference to prepare for.

And I’m getting to all that right now. Well, after I look at the pics I took one last time…

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