Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Last weekend I experienced my first trip to The East Coast Derby Extravaganza. If you have never been to ECE, picture this: A weekend in a world of derby where a sports arena and the surrounding area are transformed into what I like to call The City of Derby aka Derbyville, the place where everyone knows each other's names, since it's literally on everyone's back! Team shirts and uniforms with names imprinted on the back are everywhere you turn, which makes for easy introductions. Derby men and women populate this city, where if you don't have skates on, you're the strange one.

The center of Derbyville (the arena) consists of three tracks. Those of you who have been to a Long Island Roller Rebels home bout, imagine Skate Safe with an extra rink. There are various "employees" in the city; Vendors, Skaters, Referees and NSOs. The tracks are surrounded by the vendors, selling what else but derby related merchandise. Everything from skates to clothing to stickers. More importantly though is what is happening ON the tracks, where the skaters, refs and NSOs do what they do best. Bouts are continuous all day and night and consist of both WFTDA ranked teams and teams made up of skaters from various leagues all over the world. While the WFTDA sanctioned bouts are intense, the competition bouts are full of fun and energy. Skaters of any level can sign up to be placed on a competitive team, which definitely keeps it interesting. In keeping up with the tradition of derby, the competition teams have clever names, such as, Rice vs. Beans, Villains vs. Superheros, Blondes vs. Brunettes and Movie Stars vs. Rock Stars.

Once you're done watching or playing or stocking your bags with merch, you can step outside of Derbyville townhall and lounge by the pool, eat and drink. So much action in this city!

On a more personal level.....I learned so much from watching the bouts and saw some of the most incredible players who made skating look as easy as pie. It was so interesting to check out the diverse styles and forms each individual had and to also see the different strategies they used.

Another great moment for me was meeting the other skater who's name was also inspired by the toughest singer around, Ms. Etta James. Yep, the beautiful Etta Maims who plays for The Boston Dirty Dames found me and introduced herself. I can remember back to when I finally chose my name, looking at her name on the master roster over and over wondering how she would feel about there being another Etta in derby. We spoke and not only was she was just fine with it, she was also a doll!And last, but definitely not least, it was so great to be away with my derby girls. My family, the Roller Rebels always show me a good time. Constant laughter and adventure, that's just the way we roll.Hope to see you all again next year!


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