I am hurting. Hurting, people. My body is bruised and contused. I am kind of a hot mess, and I think I have about ten minutes before this Vicodin kicks in proper, so let me try and get these stories out. Our little rookie game needs ticket sales. It’s a cheap game, it’s all ages, it’s on a Saturday afternoon, and it’s way more fun if you are there.
Please buy tickets to the Baby Doll Brawl. Send your friends, grab a group, make an afternoon of it. Something. Because there’s been a tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears (no really, all three) put into this bout. Ticket sales pay our rent. We skate for you and we can’t skate without you. And thanks for those of you who have been supporting us all this time, coming to our games or buying merchandise.
So, three quick stories.
I’ve learned that while I normally bruise extremely easily, my face seems to be the exception. I’ve taken a few accidental blows to the head over the past couple of weeks — an elbow to the temple, and elbow to the other temple (same girl, one week later, opposite elbow), a skate to the chin, a shoulder to the cheek, a full-on forehead-to-forehead smack that seemed straight out of a deleted scene from Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and lastly… oh, man.
Last Sunday’s practice, I was skating in a jam and the next thing I knew I saw stars. Funny, as we are the Stars in this Stars v Stripes game, but not funny because it meant I had been hit square in the face. I kept skating, finding my partner and moving toward the front of the pack, even though my eyes were tearing and my nose was running and I didn’t know if it was blood or not. Anyway, that happened, and I kind of forgot about it until I got home and saw the bruise going across the bridge of my nose. You can’t really see it except in certain lights, but it hurts. The front of my face hurts in a straight line from forehead (see above head-smack) to chin.
Early in last night’s practice Cyntax Terror skates up to me with this look on her face. “How’s your nose?” she asks.
“Fine,” I said. “How’d you know?”
“Because I’m the one who hit you in the face.”
“Oh. It’s okay. I’m okay.”
“I didn’t mean to. I felt horrible because I hit you like a douche. I was just skating away all fast, and my elbow swung up and hit you in the face. You were skating so low and–”
“Cyntax. I’m fine. It’s okay.”
“Look! I’ve got a nose-shaped bruise on my arm.”
And that made it all worth it. People, some girl’s walking around with the impression of my face on her arm. Come on. I’m a thirty-something comedy writer. Which leads me to later on in practice, when we were working on a hitting drill.
We were all skating in a pace line, and one girl would skate up from behind, and we were each supposed to hit her to the rail. That’s the high side of the track. This means you’re looking back, and as the girl approaches, you take a few steps up high, and you hit the girl to the rail. The idea is you’ve either hit her to where she slams into the rail, or she falls. I’ve been working on my follow-through. This means instead of hitting someone and then pulling back to keep skating, I’ve been told to work on hitting through the girl. Aiming past her so that I hit her with everything, not just some of my power. (heh. i’m a comedy writer! what power?!)
Okay. I found a picture of the track where this happened. What LEGacy is doing right here, that’s what I was supposed to do when Slamazon was coming up behind me. It’s called taking her to the rail.
Slamazon is small, and she skates low, meaning she can be a tiny little ball jamming through. So I got real low, turned on my skates and powered up to her. I hit her, she went back into the rail…but I kept going. I went over the track. To see how far of a drop this is, please see this photo.
I went through the track, really, because I didn’t go over that top rail. It’s a good five, six foot drop or so. I know some girls who are terrified of going over the rail. You hear the horror stories of split lips and lost teeth and “she landed on her head.” So when Slamazon disappeared behind me and I kept going — I kept going, something that seemed impossible due to physics and such — I knew I was going to fly off the track, and I had to do something to keep me from falling straight onto my head.
I shot my arm out and grabbed one of the support beams. So I flew out of the track, but flipped forward, slamming myself onto the wooden kickrail. Gravity kept pulling, so I was sliding-falling, and I held on as much as I could as I kind of monkey-gripped myself down the support beam until there was nothing left I could hang onto, and then I let go. If that support beam hadn’t been there, and I hadn’t grabbed it, I have no idea how jacked up I’d be right now.
When you’re skating on the track and this happens to someone else, it’s very disorienting. Because there they are skating, and then they are gone. You do not see them, you sometimes don’t even know what happened to them. It goes pretty quickly. She’s on the track; then you can’t see her. The girl who was skating behind me said, “I saw the whole thing and it was crazy. It looked like you were falling in slow motion. Because I was, as I was trying like hell to hang onto a pole while upside down, shooting towards concrete.
I hit the ground and immediately started yelping, because it felt like I had flayed myself. The brunt of the impact went to my left arm where I grabbed the support beam, then my chest, which hit the kickrail first, and then my right thigh, which must have been the fulcrum of the entire disaster, because I am currently rocking an enormous contusion.
Anyway, I’m yelping and I can hear everybody on the track stop and take a knee so the trainers can find out if I’m dead, and I am in so much pain that I start laughing because it’s glorious that I am not dead. So I’m shouting this: “OW! I’M FINE! HA HA HA! OW, OH GOD! I’M FINE MOTHERFUCKER THIS FUCKING HURTS I’M FINE HA HA HA OW HOLY SHIT OW HA HA I’M FINE OH GOD MY TIT OW HA HA HA I’M FINE!”
I remember the trainers coming up to me, and one saying, “Jesus, Holla. Just stay there for a second. Find out if you’re fine.” But I couldn’t stay still because my skin was screaming. I kept rolling and holding myself, laughing and breathing, trying to turn back time to when this had not just happened.
“Do you want ice? I can give you ice, but you know that’s the end of practice for you if you take it.”
I did know that. This is our last practice before the bout. “No, ma’am,” I said. “I will not be taking ice.” And I got back on the track. And people applauded, like you do when an athlete gets up after a hit. (But people, I am a comedy writer.)
The other skaters later told me that at first they couldn’t tell if I had been seriously hurt or not, because my laughter was so filled with pain and shock. “I knew you were really laughing, but you were also really cursing.”
Punchy, one of the trainers, came up to me later and said, “Are you okay? You were living up to your name, Holla. That was some serious yelling you were doing.”
“I thought maybe it would hurt less if I yelled it all out.”
“Well, everybody deals with pain in their own way. But you got back up and are out here, so you’re a badass.”
But this morning, I look horrible. My arm is gnarly, and my chest feels like that pain you get from your seatbelt after a car accident. But my leg. Oh, my leg has this strip of purple/black from one side to another, with a lump in the middle. I’ve got it wrapped in a bandage because compression actually makes it feel better, and this Vicodin I’ve got left over from the last time I was training for a Baby Doll Brawl is starting to make everything muuuuuuch better.
During water breaks lately, we are all so tired and beaten up, that sometimes we fantasize about when this is all over, and we get to go see a doctor. I’m not kidding. “I’m going to have someone look at my knees,” one girl said to me, beaming.
Last night while walking to our cars, Charlie Frown (one of the refs) and I were talking about how this is it: the next time we get together it’s for the bout. “Last time I was a few days before the bout, I was terrified,” I said. “I didn’t want the day to come. I wanted more practice, more time, more days to skate or figure out how to skate, or stave off another bruise. This time I just want to get out there and do it. The game is going to be fun, and I really want it to be over, so that I can take a little time off to heal. I am so tired of being injured. I wake up in the morning and my back is all twisted, and I’m like an old lady. I just want to not be injured for like, a day.”
“You’re not injured, Holla,” he said. “Injured means you’ve got something so broken you can’t skate, you can’t play. Injured means you’re out. You’re not injured. You’re just hurt.”
Meaning: suck it up and skate. And he’s right.
Roller Derby Tough Love. I appreciate it, because it keeps you from being a pussy.
Okay, and finally:
I got called out. This comedy writer got called out! Check it:
Get to know the Meteorfights, playing at Saturday’s Baby Doll Brawl.
Q: How did you find out about the LADD?
A: (Lace) I attended the Baby Doll Brawl in Oct ’08 and then signed up the next week for Fresh Meat. I said to myself, I can hit hard and skate fast; I should do that!
Q: Who are your skating idols?
A: (Astrid) I am always in awe of Fighty Almighty (Angel City Derby Girls)- she is an amazing skater to watch. Also, Tara Armov. She has taught me a lot about skating and derby in general. She is a great
skater and trainer.
A: (Lace) My skating Idols are Mila Minute and Haught Wheels. They are both versatile as blocker and jammer, they have great form, and they really understand the game.
Q: What are some of your skating accomplishments?
A: (Astrid) Everything! When I started, I could barely stand on the track, let alone skate on it! The fact that I am skating in a game, as a co-captain, amazes me.
Q: Who are you rooting for? The Aftershockers or the Prom Queens?
A: (Astrid) The Aftershockers!! I managed for them once-they are an awesome team!
Q: What’s more important? To win the game or to win the afterparty?
A: (Lace) Winning the afterparty! Winning the game would rock, but this is all about the experience of being on a team and working towards a goal. If we accomplish that goal of playing as a team, then it’s a
win for me.
Q: How do you plan to kick their butts?
A: (Astrid) With my shiny silver ass.
Get to know the Scars and Stripes! Captain Anya Handzaneez and Co-Captain Helen Surly Frown opine about what makes the L.A. Derby Dolls great, and let the Meteorfights know that they’re in for a
Q: What is your favorite thing about being an L.A. Derby Doll?
A: (Anya) I get to skate with the best league in the world, made up of the smartest, most diverse group of women and men I have ever met.
A: (Surly) I am in love with the challenge that skating has provided. It has taken a lazy dame in her 30’s and given me the drive to become an actual athlete.
Q: Who are your skating idols?
A: (Anya) Some of my favorite skaters to watch are Tara Armov, Venus De Maul’r, Miss Fortune (Rat City), Estro Jen (ACDG) and Trish the Dish (SDDD). Each one brings something special to their team and to their league.
A: (Surly) I’m a huge fan of Iron Maiven. Her ability to move through a pack and knock people around is amazing. I also admire Venus D’Mauler. There is no getting around that booty of hers!
Q: What’s more important? To win the game or to win the afterparty?
A: (Anya) It is more about having fun than about winning. Winning is a byproduct of having fun. And I have a little secret for all of you: Everyone wins at the afterparty!
Q: Who is your rival on the other team?
A: (Anya)That pesky May Q. Holla. She’s always trying to stop my jams, dammit. Stop blocking me, Holla. Don’t make me hit you back!
A: (Surly) Aw, I don’t have any rivals on the other team. They’re all my sisters. It doesn’t mean I won’t lay them out, though.
NO CAMERAS ALLOWED! MUST HAVE ID IF YOU ARE 21+
First, at 3 p.m., witness the ALL AGES Baby Doll Brawl featuring our newest rookie skaters! This is our
rare, all-ages bout with spectacular spills and thrills and a beer garden for adventurous adults. Children under 10 free for general admission/$5 for VIP for children under 10.
Then, L.A.’s All Star B Team made up of top skaters from all 4 league teams (Fight Crew, Sirens, Tough Cookies, Varsity Brawlers), the Aftershockers, battle it out on our banked track against the Prom Queens, a mix of SoCal flat track skaters from the Angel City Derby Girls and more. Door opens at 6:30 p.m. This event is 21+ and you MUST have your ID.
Double your derby! Double your fun!
L.A. Derby Dolls host TWO bouts in ONE day of all-girl banked track roller derby action!
At the Doll Factory, 1910 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles