‘Oh, so YOU’RE the guy who has my girlfriend on all fours, sliding across the floor in hotpants and fishnets, then ….’
Aaah yes. Meeting the suspicious boyfriend for the first time at team socials. Always fun!
‘Those friction burns on her ass? Nothing to do with me….’
Being the only guy on a team of 35 young, hotpants-and-fishnets-clad twentysomething girls may seem like every blokes dream. I have a lot of blokes give me the ‘nudge nudge wink’ when they see me with my team. In fairness, these blokes are usually overweight, middle aged badminton players who are, lets face it, dead inside.
I mean, who plays badminton? For fun?
Yes, so, back at the start when I was coming to sessions out of idle curiosity for what my wife was getting all excited about, I’ll admit that the sight of these athletic girls in hotpants was pretty …. novel. The more I got to know them and the sport, however, the more I saw them as a serious group of women who were actually working bloody hard at what they did. They wore what they wore out of practicality and necessity, not to titillate the lecherous photocopier salesmen attacking a moth with a bat in the other side of the sports hall.
Derby shorts give you the freedom to pull off those moves where total freedom is needed. Big, baggy shorts don’t let you do that. The tights are there to stop you picking up some pretty brutal friction burns (rink rash) when you go sliding out on the floor. The warpaint on your face …. well ….. that’s just cool.
The more I see my team progress and grow in confidence, the more I respect them and, being a fair bit older than most of them, see them almost like my daughters / younger sisters. Not in a Redneck ‘lets-keep-it-in-the-family’ sort of way …. more a ‘I’ll-do-anything-to-protect-you’ kind of thing.
The demands of roller derby being what they are, and the type of people the sport attracts, I know the sort of stresses and hurdles that the skaters have had to endure and overcome to get to where they are. Because of this, I can never see the female skaters in the way that ‘blokes’ from outside the sport see them. I think I have to work hard at earning the trust of new skaters to our all-female derby team. I’m aware of the backgrounds that some of our ladies come from and the last thing they’d probably want to do is to drop on all fours in front of me whilst I help them with 4-point-falls.
I do actually take great pains to make sure I don’t appear to be looking at them in anything other than a professional manner. When they swap shirts for Black v White scrim drills, I make sure I’m off over the other side of the track getting something ready or I’ll be rummaging in my skate bag for something with my back to them. When we’re doing thigh stretches on all fours at the start I make a point of putting my forehead on the floor so as not to wind up staring down someone’s top. Working on 4-point-falls I’ll stand to the side to watch their form so they’re never ‘ass-on’ or ‘cleavage-on’ to me. I’ll always hold solid eye-contact whenever I’m talking to them or giving them pointers. I won’t touch them or get in their personal space until I’m positive they’re comfortable enough with me to do so.
I basically make sure I conduct myself in a gentlemanly manner whenever I’m in ‘derby mode’ with them. This seems to be the norm with all the other derby blokes I’ve met and worked with so far.
Anything else and you’ll very quickly find yourself shut out of the team.