Fear but definitely no loathing in Las Vegas for our intrepid duo…
So. We really were somewhere just outside of Barstow on the edge of the desert when the 32oz can of Blast began to take hold. Jitters kicked in. “F***. You do realise we have to skate against some ACTUAL Americans soon? They’re so tough. We’re gonna die.”
Hell ‘n’ Back and I had touched on what a totally sterling idea going to RollerCon 2013 would be during a rum-soaked night in the winter of 2012. Both of us being the sort drawn to grandiose adventure plans, this was not to be the end of the matter. Fast forward 24 hours and we were making plans and negotiating flight deals. (For those unfamiliar with RollerCon, it’s a 5-day roller derby convention held annually in Las Vegas, and it’s the t*ts).
Six months, two flight bump-offs and one minor luggage-panic later, we arrived in LA. The idea was a week’s holiday before the derby onslaught – and what a grand idea it was. Our first night there could not have been more rock & roll. Summed up in one of my Facebook entries as follows:
“DAY 1: ALL of the Hollywood rock & roll cliches! The Viper Rooms. The Roxy. The Rainbow Rooms, where it was just us, Ron Jeremy and actor Chuck Zito. Invited to a party at a producer’s house (turns out he produced one tiny sh*tty film and had an equally tiny sh*tty apartment, so we nicked a champers and left immediately). Ate in a 24 hour diner.
DAY 2: Hired a Kia Soul.”
On day 2 we did indeed hire a Kia Soul which was all that was left when we got through the humongous queues at the rental place. Not exactly a Caddy or a Mustang but still a total dream-machine to us – and cheap! It was so great to have wheels and air-con and a total necessity for getting around LA. We took in the sights at Muscle Beach, saw some awesome comedy shows and did some generally great Hollywood mincing.
Fun as it was down old Los Angeles way, ROLLER DERBY was looming large on the horizon and we could not have been more excited (terrified). Myself and Hell like to believe that we are somewhat ‘alright’ when it comes to the sport but as we all know, those American gals shoot out of the womb skating. We envisaged Amazonian goddesses in crop tops. We envisaged tanned stocky she-jocks. We envisaged fast, lithe, muscle-bound fillies. And we envisaged being largely invisible to all of the above as they left us quaking in their anti-clockwise trail of destruction… TO VEGAS BABY!
RollerCon was big, loud, busy, sweaty and brilliant from the start. The energy created by so many people all being in the same place for the same reason is an incredible thing and I would urge any derby fan to make this pilgrimage at least once in their lives.
In order to get rid of our initial nerves we took part in a co-ed mixed scrim for all abilities, which was scary and definitely a baptism of fire. I ended up with a friction burn and partial black eye but it was alllll good. We were here. We were doing it.
Our first proper bout was playing for Team Sparkly in that age old battle of aesthetics versus Team Sporty. (These mixed teams are organised on forums before arriving at RollerCon.) During this game we were skating alongside some real derby royalty: Texas All-Star Bloody Mary (present during the Texas-based resurgence in the early 2000s and pioneer of modern-day flat-track derby) and President of WFTDA Alassin Sane! It was an awesome experience and we surprised ourselves by generally managing to hold our own amongst some real world-class players.
Now, ‘cos I’m a total Wordy Rappinghood when I get going, I’ve managed to cobble together enough words to exceed our limit for one blog post. Huzzah! So please take a break and come back and read PART 2 where we RollerCon-vince ourselves that we’re playing for the real Team GB…