So why am I changing it up? I’ve got good friends in the flat track community. We volunteer at bouts. We skate together through the streets of Austin on hot days, then swim and get cold drinks. We make signs for new skaters. It’s a fun bunch of folks.
Derby seemed to epitomize the DIY ethos I love so much: homemade boutfits, volunteers staffing bouts and preparing venues, practices in hot warehouses. I love the sisterhood.
When I went to my first banked track bout in 2013, I didn’t really care for it. I was used to doubleheaders, with straight-ahead skating and not much kitsch. So the singleheader, pillow fight and tug-of-war filled bout wasn’t really satisfying at the time. When 2014 came around, I signed up for my usual rec league and got back on the volunteer train.
But I found myself fidgeting at bouts. The more straight-ahead spectacle of flat track failed to hold my attention. When I gave in to Mr. Fab and left after watching just one half of a bout at a doubleheader, I realized I should give banked track another chance.
This year, I’ve loved attending those banked track bouts. The crowd is closer to the action. People go flying over the rails (sometimes). And the kitsch. Oh, the glorious kitsch. Boutfits, helmets that don’t necessarily match – it’s all so much fun.
I didn’t ever dream of actually getting on that track and trying it out for myself. Now, a couple of months into it, I’m thinking of going through with a tryout for the league. I know I won’t make it, but I want to see what it’s like.