Roller Derby

I don’t play sport, much less watch it. As previously explained, going to sport events isn’t really my thing. The sporting lexicon really isn’t mine. I kinda thought that if I went along a few times I’d start to get it but I don’t. Which is to say, I get the way a crowd feels. I feel that swell of enthusiasm and excitement, but it’s the finer points I don’t get. That night I went to the rubgy, I heard my friend Dean when he explained the rules to me, and it kind of made sense but when I tried to translate that understanding to making sense of what was going on on the field I was all at sea.

The same thing happens with Roller Derby. Do you know what Roller Derby is? Popular opinion has it as a game where girls get violent on skates but that’s just a misconception. Actually it’s a game where a bunch of energetic women go around and around in circles and score points because of their skill and determination. There isn’t much in the way of violence. It’s just clever and sassy.

About a year or so ago we started going along to Roller Derby games in Canberra, largely because I’d been telling Sean that my friend Kylie of KGirlKnits was talking a lot about it and it caught his interest enough that when he saw tickets advertised, he thought what the hell, let’s go.

Roller derby

And it’s been fun. Really.  We go every 6 weeks or so and for an evening I get to hang out with other enthusiasts and enjoy a Saturday night at a sporting venue. Honestly for me it feels a bit like a social experiment. I never really feel like I belong there but it doesn’t really matter. Going to the rugby wearing a borrowed jersey for the team helped me feel like I fitted in there. I didn’t expect that. Perhaps dressing up for derby would help?

I know that knitting at a sports event probably doesn’t help with that whole sense of feeling different, but it’s just what I do and really it’s a good thing because at the derby you get a sense that lots of people there are not quite mainstream. In the toilets at half time you get up close to some pretty awesome outfits and you get a sense that maybe it’s a place where you can just be yourself.

Me Knitting @ Roller Derby

I buy a beer, some chips, knit something mindless and watch girls in funky outfits skate around in circles a lot. At some point it becomes clear there’s a real battle for points going on and I start to cheer along with everyone else, but mostly I’m just knitting and getting in the zone, watching the girls go around and around and wondering just how they gain points. I’ve read the rules, I just don’t get it. I know there’s a structure to how it happens but I can’t make my brain take it in.

This weekend, I decided that I just didn’t care anymore that I couldn’t follow the rules. It’s exciting to be in the middle of a cheering crowd, to be knitting, having a drink and feeling the swell of a supportive crowd.

Knitting at roller derby

It’s a great opportunity to get some easy knitting done. I’m up to the sleeves of my featherweight cardigan and I’ve decided to get them done in ten days. Wish me luck. There’s a lot of plain knitting to get done in a short space of time.



19 thoughts on “Roller Derby

  1. Well firstly I didn’t even know they had roller derby here so I’ve learnt something knew already and secondly good on you for knitting in public at a sports event.. more guts than I would have as I would want to but probably wouldn’t…lol

  2. Fun! I’ve been to two derby bouts this winter as Sweetie has recently joined a team. I can’t quite make sense of it all yet, either. What you say about the crowd not being mainstream is true here as well, and I love it! Great people watching, snacking, and knitting time.

  3. A flat track? Oh, well of course! That’s going to make it a lot harder. What fun!

    I love their outfits and nicknames. What strong, brave women they are. There’s men’s roller derby, too, but they take it a bit too seriously. “Betty, the Executionator” still plays nicer than “Bob, the Executioner.” Betty may give someone a black eye in the process of the game, but Bob uses the game as an excuse to beat people up.

    You rock! Knit on!

  4. Knitting is definitely the only way for me to sit still during a sporting event! Even so, I’d rather be watching TV or talking with friends.

    We have roller derby here, too, but I haven’t checked it out. I can’t imagine Farm Boy being willing to go!

  5. Roller Derby looks like a really fun spectator sport, I should see if any leagues race in my neck of the woods. I’m all for more opportunities to sit and knit!

  6. I *love* that you and Sean started going to roller derby as a regular thing – and you are spot on about the atmosphere and environment. It’s all about being allowed to be yourself, for mine.

    I can always get one of our refs to do an online rules tutorial for you – lord knows they love to talk the rules

    for the most part, as long as you know the Pivot (striped helmet cover) is trying to control the speed of the pack the the best tactical advantage of her team, and the Jammer is scoring points for every opposing blocker she (legally) passes from her second pass through the pack onwards, you’ve got a good grasp!

  7. now that sounds like my kind of sport (particularly if knitting, food and beverages is included) – looks like fun! and hooray for the near-completion of the featherweight, it’s going to be gorgeous!

  8. Hi Bells! I must google roller derby in Brisbane and see what there is on offer! I would like to cast on a new sweater (Fireside) over easter and this means that I must knit a whole lot of 2 hearts before then! I hav the whole of easter off this year, which will be lovely – need a break!

    Take care, love the blog, Nat xx

  9. I have a few friends who do roller derby, but not near me, so I haven’t seen it in the flesh. Sounds fun, though. I’ve never really “got” sports much, but I enjoy F1, and this seems a bit similar (going round in circles, anyway…) so maybe I’d be able to follow it!

  10. I was going to suggest Whip It as well. As I recall they explained the rules simply enough that I felt I completely understood it at the time…and now I can’t remember a thing. 😉 Great pictures as always.

  11. You look so beautiful and happy in that picture, Bells! And I think it’s great how you’re willing to experiment, expand your horizons, and try to enjoy things you wouldn’t normally – and find you can enjoy them. (Even if requires a bit of knitting!) It’s a lesson we all should learn.

  12. If you’re knitting those sleeves in the round, they’ll fly. Ten days, no problem!

    There’s roller derby around here, a local league, and they have one match very close by. I’m trying to get more details because I think the boys would like it!

  13. Sport of any kind and knitting are a pretty good match I reckon. I think I’d drop a few stitches watching Derby though. My sister’s explained the rules to me once or twice, it makes more sense now. Crazy brave girls, so good to see them getting so much support.

  14. I’m sure you will get those sleeves done quickly! Stocking stitch in the round grows almost without you noticing it, I find! (most of the time…heh!)

    I love to knit while watching sports – it helps that I pretty much always watch it on telly, so I have the commentary to tell me what’s going on and instant replays in case I’m looking at my knitting instead of the telly. But I dream of going to the cricket and knitting all day. I suspect I’d find roller derby a bit too exciting to knit whilst watching it!

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