In this, my final installment on RollerCon 2009 (http://rollercon.net/ ), the international roller derby convention on the Las Vegas strip, we’ll get to the real personal nitty-gritty, beyond the skating and the learning. Beyond the networking and the elbow-rubbing. Even beyond the tattoo-comparing, the hero-worship, the grand Black and Blue Ball and the V.R . (http://www.thevagineregime.com/ ) guerilla pool parties. After all of the aforementioned activities, the week concluded as many Vegas weekends do, with the exchange of drunken vows, in the form of a mass derby wedding (and I don’t mean a “wedding mass”).
The “derby wife” among skaters is a special relationship having little to do with the sexual orientation (or current pre-existing marital status) of either party gettin’ hitched. The relationship is best described in the introduction of the official derby wedding vows, credited to Kasey Bomber : (http://www.myspace.com/kcbomber)
“It is one based not only on friendship, honor and loyalty, but also on tricking each other into ill-advised late night situations, reminding each other to always recall with relish your best takedown if ever you doubt your skills before a bout, and advising you to always select the “daily digest” option on all twenty nine of your yahoo groups. The skater or skaters beside you may not be your best friends, but they have that special quality that no other in roller derby possesses for you. They are the ones who “complete you.” They are also the ones who will not hesitate to punch you in the mouth if you ever said that out loud.” Derby wives fill a need in a sport/hobby/lifestyle that can easily take over one’s daily “real” life, and can quickly become the bane of one’s primary relationship (often referred to as the Derby Widow – more on this poor beleaguered soul later). Knowing this, I got teary-eyed as I watched a couple of hundred skaters and referees get married, albeit in name and fun only, promising, in unison (most likely the only thing they’ve ever done or ever will do in unison), “…I take you to be my derby wife…. I vow to always take pictures up your skirt at after-parties. And to hold your hair back when you puke on the sidewalk. I will always be your first phone call from jail, even if I was the one who got you there in the first place. I promise to be your biggest fan … unless we face off in a bout. Then I promise to hit you harder than anyone else on the team, because I’d never insult you by going easy…”
It made me all verklempt, and hopeful that someday I, too, will be standing outside in excessive dry heat, in a parking lot with port-a-potties and sparkly broken glass shards, an Elvis impersonator officiating my derby wedding while I sip warm PBR. Sniff. Call me a hopeless romantic. Or call me hopeless. I probably won’t hear you above the bands anyway.
A special note about this week’s photo, which some of the more astute “bleaders” (blog-readers) may have noticed does not resemble a roller derby wedding; after browsing through hundreds of photos from Rollercon’s last few years of derby weddings, I could not find an image that would accurately reflect the tone of the event without considerably compromising both the subject(s) of the photo, who may or may not be more sober now than at the time of the snapshot, and the casual blog reader, hence this week’s pic pick. Use your imagination.
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