I have always described Roller Derby as a cross between NASCAR and rugby. The physical contact and team tactics are clear and the speed too. This is not a game for wimps. Nor is it a game for posers. Spend more time on your costume than your technique and you'll get flattened.
So imagine my surprise to read in the Capital Times: "Look out for skimpily clad roller skating girls hitting the streets of Wellington". Don't get me started on the picture they used. Are we not past this stage of derby reporting? The "oh look how quirky, girls on skates" needs to change to "here's a really interesting sport".
I'm interested to see how Paul Henry faired with Thigh Voltage and Ruby Deathskates on Breakfast this morning. Especially because TV has a moustache on her helmet. (Turns out it went ok, you have to skip past the guy whose wife slept with their exchange student).
Sure, there is an element of, let's call it "theatre" about derby. The costumes and pro-wrestling-esque names. There's also the human interest aspect bundled up under the disgusting title of "girl power". Then there's the intense skill involved in hitting someone with your upper body and keeping your balance on wheels while your moving in a pack and thinking about how you're going to get your jammer through the pack.
You can watch it as a purist and enjoy the tactics and skill, and you can watch as a screaming fan waiting for the big plays. Just like, and this is the kicker, any other sport.
Every sport can be reported on with a human interest angle, every sport has controversies and personalities, every sport has specific training and injuries. But for some reason not every sport is patronised to like derby is.
Anyway this is all preamble before I hit you with:
Bigger, better and badder than last year, this shit will (if you'll excuse the phrasing) explode! And remember if you're stuck in Auckland and are feeling bad about missing out on this awesome event,
sucks to be you check out the Pirate City Rollers.