Saturday, December 18, 2010

Violet KnockOut and the Judgment-Free Zone

I went a few Saturdays ago to my first Roller Derby. I was there accompanying my wife, who was running an outreach table for her her organization, which is in the mental health field. It was a charity event unlike any other I've attended.

One of the female contestants, I was told, was a clinical psychologist; her moniker for Roller Derby was Freudy N. Slip, and her "number" was DSM4 (shorthand for the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders). Other good names: Serial Mom, Jenny Bangs!, Whiskey Lullaby. Two of the best skaters were Violet KnockOut and C-Roll.

It was really fun. Everybody attending and participating looked exhilarated. One interesting thing was how non-judgmental the atmosphere was. Some of the skaters were big and some were big and butch and some were petite and limber, and nobody seemed to care how they looked. People were just having fun.

Fun, that is, plus knocking the other skaters onto their asses. But I didn't see anybody get mad about getting knocked down (though I'm sure it had to happen at some point).

There is also also a non-judgmental atmosphere in martial arts schools at their best. Unlike gyms, everybody wears the same outfit in a dojo, which tends to muffle some of the differences in wealth and build. There's often a very encouraging spirit (if also a very challenging one.) Certainly I give credit to everybody showing up, no matter what their body shape, because the easiest thing to do would have been simply to stay on the couch at home.


Felicia said...

The hardest part is showing up, they say. But in roller derby, you have to show up AND put on skates AND try to knock folks on their booties. Showing up is the easy part it seems!

We have a team in the area and I keep meaning to call a "girls' night out" and go, but we haven't made it yet. I'm inspired to check it out now! Thanks :-)

BobSpar said...

Let me know if you enjoy it Felicia! I hope I haven't set your expectations too high....