Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Roller Girls Made Me Cry

I'm having a maudlin day, people. Luckily maudlin doesn't mean untrue. The truth is that the roller girls made me cry.

When A&E started running the promos for RollerGirls I knew that I wanted to see it. I like hockey, I like girls who kick ass, I'm a big fan of watching weird TV shows, I watched an entire night of competitive eating for cripes sake! But it was on after my bedtime so I missed it. It was A&E, I knew there would be endless reruns.

Today, as I savored the feeling of my ass actually growing roots in the couch, I discovered that there were a couple of episodes of RollerGirls on. So I checked it out, with the newer version of Stephen King's Salem's Lot on last channel. After one episode I knew I liked it but I wasn't going to seek it out. The Roller Derby parts were fabulous but the interpersonal parts had a full dose of the squick that keeps me from watching any reality shows. The bread and butter of reality shows is the uncomfortably intimate and I'm from New England, I can't take that shit. Women are clotheslining each other, they're skating through the pain, they're having so very much fun and then they go and yell at each other for not being there when they were injured or insist that the team hasn't bonded enough. Jesus, ladies, sack up! (Heh, if I lived in Austin my house would so be TP'd and egged by a bunch of well-muscled chicks in poofy skirts.)

So after one episode I was sated but, as I noted before, ass, roots, couch, Sunday afternoon and there was another one right after it so I ended up flipping back and forth to it. They put the bout shots at the end of each one so I was standing around watching that part, which I love, and I hung around for the wrap up. In this episode the wrap up was a montage. And, yes, I know that montages, especially when set to music, are specifically designed to manipulate one's emotions but it works, sue me.

In both episodes the women had talked about how important roller derby was to them, what they loved about it, how they had found a place where they belonged, how much they liked the game and Catalac is on a mission to make it a professional sport that young women can aspire to. So, in the meantime, these ladies are holding down full time jobs, practicing, dealing with their relationships and families, maintaining the rink (is it a rink? a track? I think it's a track), building the stage, promoting the derby, etc. etc. etc. As you might guess this is something with which I identify enormously.

The final montage in that second episode was of a number of the team members doing their regular jobs - receptionist, nurse, mom, fast food cashier, teacher etc. They didn't comment on it at all just showed it and dude, I cried like a baby. Because no matter what job they were doing nobody was the same as they were in practice or on the track or at dinner with the team. They were somehow less than they had been for the rest of the episode, less sunny, less passionate, less connected. And, yeah, this may have been engineered by the footage but I live there, too, and you know what? It's not just the footage.


  1. I think Alex is asking the right question.

  2. Ah,...and then there is my sappy side. But it all equals out with the Rumsfeld nonsense lower down ~:^)