Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 17th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

SKATE LIKE A GIRL #6: Girl, you’ll be a woman soon…

blog_skate_BossHoggLook around the rink at any roller derby practice and you’re bound to see women of various ages, usually mid-twenties through mid-forties, and it will be safe to assume that the majority have experienced a coming-of-age event in her life, whether as part of a cultural, religious or familial celebration, or a more casual social event. Ask enough questions at the right time during an after party and you’ll hear details of bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, confirmations or sweet-sixteens. Dig deeper, or buy a round of shots, and you might hear about other rights of passage that might not include members of the immediate family, guest lists, or places of worship, but may have necessitated covert activity, recovery time and/or bail.

What these momentous events usually have in common is that they generally take place before the age of reason (I’d like to think that’s approximately twenty-six), and that they change the participant into wiser women, when all is said and done and the dust eventually clears.  Look around the rink again. Out of the forty or so women skating, there are twenty or so who are facing yet another coming-of-age event in her life, at a later age than any of them ever expected: her first roller derby bout. In front of people. Real live people. Strangers, friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. And she’ll be wearing less clothing than she might wear to bed.


Popping that first-bout cherry takes a lot - a lot of practice, a lot of patience, and a lot of nerve. For some it’s a long road getting there, for others it’s a short stride. According to a very scientific study on my part (posting on two separate roller derby forums), it seems that seven months is the average time a derby girl waits before she skates. However, some skaters (like yours truly) wait much longer due to injuries, skill levels, life in general, or particularly competitive league or team placement policies. No matter the skater or the schedule, it’s a day (or night) approached with excitement and terror, in equal parts. Will the months of preparation prevent you from committing major penalty after major penalty in front of your loved ones? Will you have loved ones? Will the adrenaline make up for the public falling? What if you sit on the bench all night? What if nobody can read your clever booty-shorts? What if you stand out – in the bad way? What if you don’t stand out – at all?


At our home events, as in many around the country, the announcers rouse the crowd in support of the skaters popping their cherries that night on the track, bringing attention to the fact that these ladies are competing in their first-ever bouts. You’d think this would be daunting, terrifying even, but the fans go crazy with support and every jam the girls are in, every fall, every recovery, every point scored, and every whip is cheered with extra gusto. It is truly heartwarming. You may be invisible for the rest of the season, but tonight you’re golden. And from now on you can call yourself a Bouting Skater.


The coming-of-age story in America is so common that it can take place, from beginning to end, within the confines of the half-hour sit-com format, complete with commercial breaks.  In film and novels, whether you relate to Dave, the faux-Italian would-be bicycle champion of  “Breaking Away,” or Scout, Harper Lee’s young heroine in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” there is no dearth of young pliable characters to track as they experience a life-changing moment, and take on the responsibilities of the adult world in all it’s ugly glory. How is the derby girl changed in one Saturday night? How are these fully- grown, married, divorced, child-rearing, employed, paroled, unemployed, educated, enlightened, jaded, sweaty women changed over the course of two thirty-minute periods of full-contact sport? How? I’ll tell you how. They have taken (not “been given”) the time to become eight-wheeled clairvoyant warriors, fully focused, fully present, fully passionate. This, my friend, is a rite of passage for anyone, at any age. I dare you to think otherwise.


If you’re in the Santa Cruz vicinity, I invite you to witness the rite of passage of no less than five new members of the Santa Cruz Derby Girls Harbor Hellcats, skating their first home bout at the Civic Auditorium on Saturday, October 24th.  I’ll be out there for the first time – rolling, falling, recovering, sweating, popping my cherry with my teammates. It seems so appropriate that the derby prom is just round the corner…more on that later.

Enjoy this week’s photo by Boss Hogg, in which Demanda Riot of BADG breathes fuel on her legendary intimidation fire by blocking a Rat City player with her mind.

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Angus, October 19, 2009
Good Stuff, Millie.
I love applauding and cheering the players who are debuting, or are playing with a 'higher' team for the first time. You state that after that "You may be invisible for the rest of the season", which is very true, but not because the new skater is not doing their job well.
It's because the announcers have this annoying tendency to only say a players name when they are jamming, have a spectacular wipe out or are sent off with a major penalty. If you are a pivot or a blocker, do your job, stay on your skates and stay on the track then you may go the entire game without ever once hearing your name except for the pre-game introductions.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.