My cousin’s husband Houston wanted to check it out, so we hopped in the car and drove to the Denver Coliseum. We parked around back with the rest of the riff raff and scored our tickets at the booth. We grabbed a tasty beverage once inside and found some seats. There were plenty available, since the crowd was pretty sparse, compared to what I’ve seen at other bouts.
I had explained most of the rules (as I know them) to Houston before the bout, so he picked up the game pretty quick. So quick, in fact, that he started crap talking Rat City to me and cheering on his hometown Denver Roller Dolls. It was pretty funny. There were some bad calls by the refs, but it was a pretty close match. Denver was stomping Seattle for most of the match, but Seattle looked like they were getting their act together. I'm still amazed at the length of time the refs took to haggle over points and penalties between every jam. Like 5-10 minutes in spots. Ridiculous and killed the flow and energy of the bout. That's just me though.
During the half time intermission, they had a local recreational bicycle club take the rink and play Circle of Death. Imagine 50 bikes of varying styles and sizes all going around the track, but not in the same direction. People were flipping over handlebars and crashing head-on and losing control the entire time. There were a couple of really sweet bikes out there that were taking some abuse. But everyone looked like they were having fun, in a really odd way.
The second half fired up and the Rat City girls caught up and even took the lead at one point. Then, through a lot of bizarre penalties, Denver took the lead back and ended up winning by a pretty large margin.
I popped down onto the track to talk to the announcer from Seattle who was friends with Chicken Little. He asked if I was going to the afterparty and I said I wasn’t sure. Hadn’t really planned on it, but now that he mentioned it, it sounded like fun.
Houston made the proper phone calls and we headed over to Benders and had no idea what to expect. The crowd was pretty thin, but then again, we drove straight over and beat most of the crowd. We did a quick tour of the place to figure out what was what. There was a sign for a tiki bar out back, but it ended up being closed or just a tiki-front, so we went back inside. We grabbed a table (one of like 4), so we’d have a good view of the action. And I’m soooo glad we did. We grabbed a couple drinks and watched people trickle in.
We watched the DJ have serious issues with setting up his lighting rig (which I thought might have been a tad late setting it up), and eventually giving up. He had on a top hat and white stripey pants. I’m not judging, but seriously, I’m totally judging. To his credit, however, he kept the music lively and mixed it up quite a bit. Mad Hatter, the DJ, is good at his craft. We also saw a guy loading in bicycle trainers. I’ve never seen that before in a bar, so I had no idea what to expect. He connected them to a laptop and pulled up a program where people could race each other. Seriously, really drunk people on stationary bikes. Weirdest bar sport I think I’ve seen.
I talked to a couple of the Rat City skaters and fans and name dropped Slutnik and Chicken Little. I was wearing my Throttle Rockets shirt from Rat City, so they knew I was alright to fraternize with. I even talked to one of the refs from Denver. He was wearing a utili-kilt, so I had my suspicions, but he ended up being a really great guy with lots of respect for the Minneapolis Roller Girls. He told me all kinds of hilarious stories about the Minneapolis girls as well.
While Houston and I sat and became progressively more creepy, we watched the guy sitting next to us intently. Why did we watch him? Because he had a bug crawling on his shirt. It was too dark to tell if it was a roach, but I’m going to go with roach. Then Houston and I both began to itch and brush imaginary bugs off our own clothes. Creep show.
Houston and I basically sat there for a couple of hours watching the entertainment. The girls from Denver Roller Dolls have the most amazing outfits ever, and also have the ladies to fill said outfits. It was quite hilarious. I bought a couple of drinks for random people who apparently are my new best friends now. I’m sure my own concept of creep/suave ratio was out of whack after the first 5 Capn n cokes I drank, then the subsequent long island iced tea and the other 4 Capn n cokes didn’t help things. I apparently creeped out a girl whom I thought was from Denver, but actually is from Seattle and knows Slutnik, so I’m sure I’m going to hear about that. Smokin hot. And not to name names, but Quigley and Begeman from Denver Roller Dolls absolutely made my night with their dancing… oh, and did I mention the outfits? I somehow decided that the reason Seattle lost to Denver was because there was less air resistance on their outfits. If Rat City would wear smaller tighter clothes like Denver, it would have been an even match.
Then random guy named Trip bought me a beer (a Stella, in fact) because he stole my seat at the table. I don’t know if you’re a regular reader of this blog or not, but I really can’t stand the taste of beer. I’ll drink anything else, especially girly drinks, but not beer. So when my new friend trip bought me a beer, I pounded it like any normal red-blooded American would have. Well, that’s my beer for the decade. For me to have been intoxicated enough to drink a whole beer, there must have been serious judgment red flags going off all over the place. I did politely turn down one of the Irish Carbombs he bought for Houston and I, however. Thankfully, one of the Denver Roller Dolls stepped up and drained it much faster than my friend Trip and his other friend. I immediately initiated the high five to the Roller Doll – also a SURE sign I’ve had way too much to drink.
I apparently sent a liquor-addled message or seven to Chicken Little, Slutnik, and to myself which may come back to haunt me, but that’s what roller derby after parties are all about, right? I name dropped Slutnik a couple more times to the Rat City Coach named Mo (handsome black man – Slutnik cracked up when I called him that), X-Kahn, the Rat City Merch Girl, and a bunch of other Rat City skaters who apparently all look the same to me when my eyes are floating around in my head like Columbo. They were all super nice and I’m pretty sure I didn’t say too many stupid things to them. Hell, who knows though.
I’m really glad Houston was my designated driver. He appeared to have a good time watching me be a complete moron, and he was still speaking to me the following morning, so I think I’m all good. No, I didn’t get any digits nor make any moves. That’s not my style. My style is more about making sure people around me are having a good time. I’m putting the “tater” back in “facilitator.”
If you ever have the opportunity to go to a roller derby bout, do it. If you ever have the opportunity to go to a roller derby after party, be willing to sacrifice your first-born because you will have the time of your life. Guaranteed.
Special shoutout to the blonde and curvy official in the penalty box for Denver. She gave me a new appreciation for girls wearing tiny pink underwear on the outside of their black tights. Modern Technology: progress is a wonderful thing…
Top 5 things about Roller Derby in Denver
1. Denver Roller Dolls After Party!!!!!
2. Denver Roller Dolls uniform – not kidding (can I put “outfits” for all of the top 5 things?)
3. 95% of derby people (skaters, scorers, refs, fans, merch people) are the nicest friendliest people in the world
4. Houston screaming for Denver at his first bout and elbowing me to make sure I knew he was cheering (as if I couldn’t hear him) – really, it was super hilarious crap-talking and got him major kudos, not that he needed any more
5. The Circle of Death bicycle crash-‘em-up
Bottom 5 things
1. Roller Derby was Gerd and I’s sport. I may not ever watch a bout again without missing her horribly.
2. The bout was low-energy, low-crowd, and really hot
3. My wallet is a lot thinner than it was yesterday
4. Chicken Little and I were going to be each other’s “differently-challenged” wingman this weekend – that’s the new PC term for retarded and I’m classy like that
5. I’m still convinced the thin Denver air made me all spinny, not the 10+ drinks I had… hahahahaha