Roller derby attracts some of the most dedicated and obsessive fans of any sport or hobby on the planet. Perhaps none more so than our regular columnist, derby superfan FINCHLEY MINTERS, who uses his first column to explain why he loves it so much…
Wow! Roller derby! Just wow! It’s amazing! Isn’t it, though? Isn’t it amazing! I hope you think so. Actually, you’d better think so, because if you don’t, sister you might as well stop reading now. There’s two camps, see. The “roller derby is amazing camp” – population me and everyone else who knows a good thing, yeah – and some other camp that I’m not even going to give a name to, that’s how much I don’t want to even acknowledge the existence of that camp. So if you’re part of that other camp, the one I’m not going to name, then excuse me but I’ve just done a sick in my mouth, and some of it has dribbled out onto the sp a ce b a r. Just stop reading my column right now. In fact, close the window (the computer one, not the one in your room that overlooks the dull grey world of despair people who don’t think roller derby is amazing must live in) and never return to this website EVER. Not even to report a copyright infringement.
Yes, my name’s Finchley Minters and I’m coming right on and out and saying it: I love roller derby. Why do I love it? Because it’s AMAZING. Why is it amazing? Because I LOVE IT. What bit of it do I like the most, you’re all wondering? Is it the roller? Or the derby? As far as I’m concerned, it’s both of them. Like peanut butter and jelly or facial hair and ennui, you can’t have one without the other. If you’re going to come up to me in the street and say “hey Finchley, roller derby is amazing” then I’m going to straight out agree with you, high five you, maybe we can have a little hug (don’t touch the hair).
But if you come up to me in the street and say “hey Finchley, the roller is amazing, I really love the roller, but the derby, well, y’know, not so much” or “hey Finchley, the derby is fantastic, I love the derby so much I cry out of both ends whenever I even think about it”, but then when I ask you what you think about the roller, you’re like shrugging and saying you’re “not really fussed about that part”… If you do either of those things, then hey, I’m not saying we can’t ever be friends, and maybe I’ll give you a bit of a high five (a high two, or high three at best) but we’re never going to be totally the best of buds. For that, you’re going to need to love the roller and the derby equally and WITH EVERY FIBRE OF YOUR BEING.
Now I know there are some people out there who don’t like the roller OR the derby. It’s pretty difficult to get my head round that one. I’m thinking maybe they must have some kind of brain illness, or like they were brought up by chickens and they’ve never even heard of roller derby, but they just think they hate it, because being brought up by chickens all they’ve really known is millet and clucking, and so that’s all they really like, and maybe if you told them that roller derby had millet and clucking in it, and you took them along to the roller derby and they saw it with their own eyes, then maybe – even if it didn’t have millet or clucking in it on that occasion – they’d realise how AMAZING it was and would instantly LOVE IT. But I’m sorry, chicken-raised roller derby hating folks, I’m not doing that. I don’t have the time. Two words: SEE A DOCTOR.
The thing I love most about the roller derby, apart from ALL OF IT obviously, is that you don’t even need to see a roller derby to know how AMAZING it is. You just KNOW. Like, ’cause to be honest, the roller derby group in my city don’t actually do their roller derbies in the city itself, but in this small commuter town a few miles away. So I’ve never seen the roller derby live because I WOULD NEVER GO TO THAT TOWN EVER, because it’s like the lamest, most provincial town ever, and no-one goes there, and if I ever did go there and I got seen there by someone else who never goes there, and word got out that “Finchley was seen in Boringtown” then frankly my social life would be OVER. So, yeah, I’m not actually going to be able to go to a roller derby unless they start playing them in the city itself, and even then they’d need to be doing it somewhere cool, like in an underground bass funk club with hexaphonic sound and free mojitos. And most definitely not in a leisure centre, ’cause I swear if I go within even twenty feet of someone in sportswear I come out in hives.
So I guess until that day happens, instead of watching the roller derby I’ll have to content myself with talking about it. And because the roller derby is so AMAZING even just talking about it is TOTALLY AWESOME. In fact, actually going to one might be a little bit TOO crazycakes and I might, like, explode or something. But maybe one day I will get the chance. Until then, big it up for the very IDEA of ROLLER DERBY. Naked men on skateboards – what’s not to like?