Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Rollerderby Rules

This past weekend I was in Austin, Texas for a wedding. While there, I hooked up with my old friends the Bellman and Zwichenzug. Sunday night we went to the Thunderdome to see the Lonestar Rollergirls. Bellman has a earlier post about the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls here.

The Slate article by Felix Gillette Bellman mentions is interesting. It points out that there are two rollerderby leagues in Austin right now.

In the match we saw, the Putas del Fuego defeated the Hellcats by a single point on Sunday night, it was a really close game.

I enjoyed the match quite a bit. It is certainly a dangerous sport. Two players were taken out on backboards...I hope they are both ok. I have great respect for the athleticism and toughness of the competitors. I can skate, but not with much confidence. Being able to tackle while on skates is an impressive skill.

I'm not as certain as Felix Gillette that the fights are all staged. I think there might be some real antipathy between the teams. Especially after the second Hellcat was taken out on a stretcher.

Either way, it made for good white-trash theater. The crowd was very interesting as well. I cannot recall the last time I saw so much latex under one roof. There were lots of hipsters and tattooed individuals in attendance.

Austin is an interesting mixture of punks, hipsters, and cowboys. I think that our society's tolerance for deviance is in many ways a barometer of how free we are. Texas is not known for its tolerance, quite the opposite. But Austin has in many ways become an oasis of irreverence in conservative Texas.

Rollerderby seemed mildly deviant to me Sunday night and I thought the crowd was almost as much fun to watch as the action on the banked track.

If you're in Austin in the future, check it out.

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