SEPT. 22, 2007
If you’re into helmet sports, this weekend is shaping up to be a humdinger. Not only are the wacky Longhorns testing their mettle against an actual conference opponent, there are big doings down at the Austin Convention Center, as well. You probably didn’t know it, but here in Merkuh we have something known as the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, and they’re having their championships at the Convention Center this weekend. That’s “Derby” as in “Roller,” which, in the modern/vintage version at least, is a sort of WWF tag-team match on roller skates. The WFTDA (pronounced, one would assume, “woof-duh”) is composed of 38 Roller Derby leagues representing nearly every state in the nation. Damn. That’s a lot of pissed off Sonic carhops. You’d be mad, too, if you had to wait on an endless stream of Suburban-driving soccer moms, vodka-toting teenagers, ass-slapping rednecks, and outright pervs for a couple of bucks an hour and a pocketful of pennies. Roller-skating around a drive-in might look like fun on American Graffiti or Happy Days, but after you’ve rolled through a few patches of chili-dog/cherry-limeade upchuck and bussed a parking lot’s worth of ketchup-smeared window trays, getting clotheslined by an Amazon in fetish wear in front of a few thousand drunk crackers seems like a dream come true. Sure, you could channel your rage into other activities like garnishing cheeseburgers with lung nuggets and pubic hairs, but that’s so McDonald’s. Besides, if the Lord blesses you with a talent, you sort of have an obligation to use it. Where would we be if people like William Hung, Kevin Federline, and Paris Hilton chose to ignore their god-given abilities? Exactly, so if a girl takes the time to learn how to do amazing things on roller skates, she should have the opportunity to utilize those skills in something other than a porno movie starring Dirk Diggler. Thanks to the resurgence of trailer-trash camp, Roller Derby and the WFTDA are alive and well, and this weekend Austin is ground zero. Teams from far-flung locales like Seattle; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Detroit; Tucson, Ariz.; Raleigh, N.C.; and New York City (do they even have Sonics in New York City?) will be going at it on the Convention Center’s flat track to decide this year’s champion. You should probably check it out, but before you go, you might want to put on some temporary tats and a pair of Dickies. It probably wouldn’t hurt to get some steel-toed work boots and maybe one of those wallets with a big-ass chain. After all, dressing up like you’re working class is a lot more fun than actually being working class, and Roller Derby fans in Austin like to kick it blue collar. Even though Roller Derby is technically a sport, Roller Derby fans aren’t especially sportive. You’re more likely to see beer guts and plumbers cracks than ripped abs and rock-hard calves. They also prefer punk rock over jock jams and tend to take a lot of cigarette breaks. You get the sense that ultimately they’re just there to watch chicks in fishnet and helmets duke it out on roller skates. Rest assured the Derby girls will give them what they paid for.