I am pleased to say that I achieved every item on my boring to-do list from last Friday. I also made it to roller derby, which was A. MAZ. ING.

The PennJersey SheDevils were up against the Hammer City Roller Girls (from Canada) in the final bout of the 2007 season, in an International Hall of Fame match up. Having never seen roller derby before, I didn’t know a damn thing – not the rules, the positions, the scoring system, nothin’. And to be honest, the explanation provided by the coach during the demo session didn’t really help – the demo was too short for me to absorb all of the info, and I was confused. But it didn’t take long to figure out:

Each team has five skaters on the track: three blockers, one pivot (striped helmet cover) and one jammer (the scorer – helmet cover has two stars). The teams initially line up in a pack, with the two jammers 20 feet behind the pack. At the ref’s first whistle, the pack begins moving around the circuit; at the second whistle, the jammers follow the pack. The object is for the jammers to move ahead of the pack – after doing so, they gain 1 point for each opposing team pivot or blocker that they pass.

It sounds more complicated in writing. It makes sense when you see it in person.

Anyway, it was awesome. The girls are all tough and tattooed and pierced and lookin’ totally hardcore. And those Canadian chicks are freaking hardasses, let me tell you. One of them went down in the middle of the second bout, and didn’t get up. She ended up going to the hospital for a leg injury, and apparently never shed a tear.

Here are some terrible pictures – I have a cheap digital camera which doesn’t do action shots, so these are mostly blurry and smeary and stuff. But still, pictures!

They all have really funny nicknames – either they’re clever, like “Jenna Sidal” or “Miss Chievious” or really bad puns, like “Bashley Olsen,” or “Hard Licker.” Yeah. It’s pretty bad. But the thing that struck me the most was the amount of grace the women displayed – they are some seriously talented women.

Oh, another very cool thing that happened that night:
while Donna and I were standing in line, waiting to get into the rink, I saw this very buff, very tattooed and pierced guy walking up. I thought I recognized him, and so I was sort of staring (rudely, I imagine), trying to figure out if it was really him. He was staring back, and I thought he recognized me too – so I said hello, and it turns out I was right – it was a guy I went to high school with, now very grown up. He apparently plays for the men’s roller derby team, and also refs. So we talked for a bit, and he gave us some of the inside scoop on the girls.

So the PennJersey league is recruiting. And Donna picked up a leaflet about their recruitment – it seems she’s considering checking it out. Which would be way cool, I just have to say.

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