On the Sidelines with the Maine Roller Derby

Here's the thing about the roller derby, it's OK to state the obvious: Part of the appeal is women blazing around a track in leggy uniforms beating each other up and having entirely too much fun. This fall Maine Roller Derby's had three bouts, three wins. Prior to last week's game I had written about the derby off and on, but had only witnessed a practice. I knew I had to get down and see the real thing before the season was done. Listen to this week's podcast to find out how things went.I can tell you first off that Derby Night in America (if NBC can brand stuff, so can I) is a family affair. Sure there's a healthy supply of hipsters, rock heads and derby followers, but they're sitting alongside grandmothers, dads, and daughters. Seriously, I was worried the thundering death blues sound of Meantone - which played to open the bout and during an intermission - was going to hurt the gray hairs and children. From my notebook:
"Lots of dads coming in with little girls well adjusted to the fact that mommy's got fishnets, skates, headgear and eye black on."
One of the coolest - and funniest - things I saw all night, was a little towheaded girl with her blue "Derby Brats" shirt on with the words "big girl bomb" on it. Not only was she rockin' the pom-poms, but also a pair of noise canceling headphones. Even a derby mom has to make sure the little ones don't rock too hard. The women (and men) behind the Maine Roller Derby have worked hard in the last year and a half to revive the sport here in Vacationland. For my first real derby, I can honestly say from start to finish I was able to figure out how it all works, seeing how it takes more than just a fast skater to score points. There is a beer garden - which you have to admit is a draw if you want to get people anywhere on a Saturday night - concessions and live music, which is all the makings for a good show. As many of the derby girls described it, they went for a PG-13 environment. Are kids going to get some colorful language and adults situations? Sure. But they're also going to see the Derby Brats - the team's cheer squad (primarily derby daughters), giveaways, races and stuff you feel is genuinely cooler than anything else you may have seen at a young age. What started partially as nostalgia and curiosity has not only developed a full-fledged following, but has also become a place to belong for many people. It's taken a lot of practice bouts, fundraisers, PBRs and bruises, but they've come a long way. And by long way, of course I mean they went undefeated, which, as records go, is not that bad. They also get to have fun, as evidenced by the "brawl" at the end of the final bout against the Albany All-Stars. Both team's jammers decided to have a little fun as the final seconds ticked off the clock - which provided a little extra entertainment. Many, many thanks again to MRD for letting me hang around, chat, have a beer and some fried dough and take in the Roller Derby experience. As always, thanks to Dr. No for supplying the beats. If you've got an idea for a show for the podcast, some music you'd like to contribute or a more clever name (NXT Podcast doesn't look sexy on T-shirts), e-mail me.