But lo! There is such an outlet.
It's called roller derby.
A few months ago my friends Laura and Scott mentioned they liked to go see derby matches now and then. I had no idea this even HAPPENED in the area, so I immediately set about going to see it myself.
First planned was a big fat fail, since the friend I was going to go with got sick. But it's just as well because I learned you can't actually just show up at the door for these events and expect to get it. Turns out watching women skate around wearing booty shorts and fishnet tights, slamming into each other and tumbling all over the ground is pretty popular.
So my friend Liz and I made a flawless, master plan about two months out for
Today's New Activity: Cheering on the Harbor Hellcats!
Who, unfortunately, lost miserably. But dang it was fun watching this sport!
First, they called up all the women currently associated with the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, which is A LOT of women! In addition to the team members who currently participate in their bouts, the SCDG includes dozens of women who form a farm team of sorts, practicing their skating skills until they may be good enough to have a shot at competition. There is also a junior league for young girls (awesome!), and the organization also does a ton of volunteer work. In fact, it seems volunteer work is the main thing they do, as bouts only happen about once a month. And how great that when they do happen, those bouts happen in front of sold-out crowds!
Next, they introduced the refs, who seemed like a good-natured enough bunch. I found all their whistling confusing to say the least, but the skaters seemed to be able to follow things well enough. I'm not sure what they were doing in this little circle, but it was a rare chance to catch people not in motion.
Next they introduced both teams, starting with the visiting San Diego Hard Corps.
They were a tough looking bunch...not that I expect you to be able to glean that from this photo.
The Hellcats were nothing to be trifled with either...and they came out really strong at the outset. Unfortunately it seems they just sort of lost some steam at some point.
I fully planned to break down all the rules of roller derby in this post, but I've decided against it...first, because I'm feeling lazy. Second, because I think if I withhold some pertinent information, you may just be tempted to go see it yourself and get the low down. And I highly encourage you to!!
Intermission entertainment was provided by a group of light-up hula hoopers (so very Santa Cruz) called the Hoopalights. They mostly did simple maneuvers around one very skilled and acrobatic hoopster, but it was definitely entertaining. What Liz and I found *most* entertaining was their come-one-come-all invitation to the crowd, letting us know that if we too want to Hoopalight, we can meet them at their practice, which takes place every Sunday at the lighthouse at (get this) sundown. Soooooo Santa Cruz. It was a cute treat.
But back to derby...It was a great, action-packed sport. And the women really surprised me with their speed, agility, and endurance. And of course, as I suspected it might, seeing these women doing their thing totally made me want to join a league. I can hardly think of a more fun or interesting way to get exercise.
It was also great to see women totally comfortable with their bodies, no matter what size they were. Although there is certainly a sexualized aspect to the sport, given the shortness of the shorts the girls wear, none of the women there looked like they had the least interest in making this the focus of the event. They were all serious competitors, and they were badass. I loved every moment of it and can't wait to get to another bout!
It was also really nice to have the drive down to Santa Cruz and back to spend talking with Liz. I haven't known her long, but I felt an instant connection and camaraderie with her when I met her, and it's just such a treat to spend time with a woman who cracks me up. She's the whole intelligent, beautiful, funny package, and talking with her is easy. I just wish she didn't live on the other side of the Bay Area universe.
The SCDG have another team called the Boardwalk Bombshells, so there's no shortage of action to take in, as long as you plan ahead. I don't often use this blog as a vehicle by which to proclaim the importance to checking out something I've just checked out, but this is a rare exception. Go get your derby on! And when you have and you know the rules, give me a call so we can practice together :)