More than a twitter status, less than a full post.  It seems to be my style this week.

A couple themes from the weekend:  watching derby alone, derby fandom, and the state of the sport.  All could prompt full-length posts, but I only have minipost thoughts at the moment. I’m also still recovering from an evil little stomach bug that decided to strike during FINALS of all times, and has kept me away from most anything resembling nutrition for the last 48 hours or so. So here goes.

First, on watching derby alone. I’ve been to many derby bouts on my own before, fortunate to have the support of a derby widow to allow me travel both near and far for the love of the sport. And it’s always a little bit weird going into a new bout space that’s vibrating with the crazy energy unique to derby, and finding a spot to sit by myself.  I do it anyway, of course but why the weirdness? Maybe it’s because I’m not naturally boisterous; being part of a team or a group of friends brings that out in me, but it never feels authentic when I’m by myself. I also tend to doubt my knowledge or cred when I’m in another pond; everyone around me seems to know more about the teams, the players and rules than I do. Which isn’t a problem, it just makes me a little reticent to get as vocal as I would be when cheering on one of my own teams from the suicide seats. Case in point: I was at my loudest and most vocal this weekend on the night of the semifinals, watching the Oly/KCRW bout surrounded by the Texas and Gotham players and coaches who had just come back in from the locker rooms. I guess I was in the right spot, mostly by myself in a section just behind the jam line, and they piled in around me. Heckling Oly, heckling the refs, being snarky about Oly splitting the pack yet again and getting penalized for it, oops did Atomatrix just fall on her knee and have to adjust her teeny weeny kneepad? — it was hilarious and awesome, and I’m pretty sure I was standing and screaming at several points.

I’m not sure what the takeaway is; but it’s definitely a stretch outside the comfort zone for me, and as ironic as that is (given that playing derby is actually risky), it’s the truth. And getting to see derby outweighs the weirdness for me.

Speaking of the proximity of the Texas/Gotham players… Nationals was a derby fangirl’s dream. There’s a post to be written about differences between derby and other sports as far as fans go; maybe the tournaments keep everyone’s fangirl meter on freeze or something, but I just didn’t see a lot of fan signs or autograph-signing or any of the other fan behavior I might expect, even at home bouts. Halfway home I thought about how a Team USA poster, signed by each of the skaters, would have been awesome. But I’m terribly shy and protocol-observant about such things… would have been gauche, no?

eta: this piece on superfans showed up in my feeds this am.  Mascots aren’t superfans, but of the rest, the MN fans are the only ones I saw. And still, much less signage than a hometown bout.

And ok, the state of the sport of roller derby. Bullet train to legitimacy. I would really love to have plucked off the street some average sports fan who didn’t know a thing about derby, and sat that person down to watch Nationals and talk about the experience. Sure, roller derby is all “I’m a wiiiild and CrAzY guy!!!” and punk and nerdy and DIY and all, but Nationals sure as heck looked like a sports tournament to me.  And the World Cup scrimmage on Monday = pure sport at the highest level, albeit in a sleepy little warehouse just off the highway.

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