Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gratitude with a bit of attitude

On Saturday, the Boston Derby Dames held their annual award ceremony. The awards range from the expected (Best Rookie, Most Versatile Player) to the more creative (Heavy Metal Murder Machine). The homemade awards the skaters, refs, and volunteers receive are miniature labors of love, but it's the whole festivities that is the point. It's the epilogue of the 2009 season. It's fitting that the awards are held on the eve of the Holiday Season, because it is a cool-down for the Dames, and those who love them as we shed our derby responsibilities and personae and go back to our biological friends and families for two months before coming back to do it again in 2010.

I feel fortunate to play a small part in the lives of these women who work so hard to do what they love. I'm also humbled by receiving the "Man of the Year" award for my efforts. Being the second person to receive it was an honor as Philzie, the head ref of our league, was the first. Apparently, in order to win the award, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a man
  • Devote time and energy to assist the league
  • have ridden on Philzie's motorcycle as either (a) the driver or (b) held on to him tightly while screaming loudly as the two of you speed through Fenway.

At the end of the ceremony, the attendees went their separate ways to barhop, dance, or go home and sleep. I leave the year filled with a profound joy for everything I was fortunate to witness and be a part of, and optimistic for the future.

Be well,



Here's what the award looks like!

Monday, November 23, 2009

WFTDA Nationals 2009 were smelly, but so are the most wonderful cheeses

The derby season is over folks. It was an amazing ride. 2009 saw the Nutcrackers cap their undefeated season with a victory over the Cosmonaughties. The Boston Massacre made it to Nationals and defeated their first opponents. Their second game against the Texecutioners was a defeat, but considering Texas went on to the Championship match, it only proves Boston had to be beaten by one of the very best to be stopped.

One of the perks of being a derby-widow is that I get to go along on these jaunts across the country, sample the local flavor (which is not found on escalator railings...I know that now), and get to see the amazing athletes from around the derby world come together and smash the ever-loving hell out of each other while scoring points in the name of their home cities. By God (I choose Thor this week), Philadelphia's a great place for competition. Where else could I hear an entire auditorium BOO louder than the train crash that took my first cat's life. Yes, the City of Brotherly Love's sportsmanship infected the ladies and gentlemen of other cities that had come to town to cheer for their favorite teams or spouses....and relentlessly jeer everyone else.

I had the fortune to see Boston's second bout from the lofty perch of the announcer's table next to my eyeball-twin, the Reverend Al Mighty of Providence. With us was Chip Queso from Austin, Texas. I sat third seat, which meant I read off sponsors, commented on the game, and got to enjoy the smell of the sweat-stained penalty boxes and benches. The gym teacher from my old reform school once claimed that working out produces “a clean sweat, one that doesn’t stink” so it wasn't gross that he sat down on the common room couch and dripped from every pore into the foam cushions. He was wrong then and, fifteen years later, the cushioned seats of the team benches only further crushed his hypothesis. Next year, Febreze should be a sponsor of all WFTDA tournaments.

With my announcing out of the way, I was able to sit in the stands with Dread and our friends for the rest of the weekend. It was in the stands that I got to do something I have not done in two years. JUST WATCH GAMES. While doing so, I felt like I was visiting an old amusement park that I hadn't visited since I was a kid. Everything was familiar and fun, yet I'm coming at it from years more of experience. Maybe that metaphor sucks. Maybe you're just a jerk, I don't know. The point is, I had a glimmer of appreciation for the widows in the stands for just being in the audience and loving what our ladies do. Whether you're in a foam lobster suit, keeping people off the track, or chanting "Let's go Boston" in the stands, you, the derby widow, are supporting derby. It's a good thing. Pat yourself on the back quietly, and continue to do what you can to help these ladies kick ass.

Update on 12/01/09: Apparently there was a photo of all the announcers (minus the Reverend Al Mighty, who was out rocking harder than we were at the time). Click on the image below to see it in its glory!