We Be Jammin’

Two milestones were set last Saturday thanks to the local Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby.  Vanitti won her first MVP Jammer award, and I finally got my activity tracker to announce that I had successfully completed my goal for the day.  I don’t remember exactly what my goal for the day is, since I set it when I first bought the watch years ago, but I normally only hit about 35-40% of whatever that goal is.

On Saturday, The Dutchland Rollers competed against and defeated the Salisbury Wicomikazes from Maryland in the first match of “Monster Mashup Night.”  This was the third time I’ve attended the local roller derby, and it was easily the best.  I realized that it’s a lot like horse racing.  The more familiar you are with the athletes going around the track, the more interesting it is.  By now I recognize many of the Rollers, especially their two best jammers, Vanitti and Mega Pixel.  I also wound up cheering for one of the blockers on the Wicomikazi team, #13, Ida Crazy Mama.  (Far left in the team picture above.)  I kinda had to cheer for her, as her parents were sitting right in front of me.

At halftime, one of the other parents came over to me and asked me if I had a daughter skating on the team.  I know that she was being very tactful, because I’m probably older than most of the girl’s grandparents.  I told her that, No, I didn’t have any relatives on the track, I was just a Vanitti groupie.

In the 2nd match, continuing the Halloween theme of the evening, Witches Be Crazy defeated Ghouls Just Want To Have Fun.  Raggedy Aneurysm, #79, proved to be one of the stars for the Witches.  Ghengis Bon, #302, was my favorite Ghoul.  After that it was time to head home.  There was just one problem.  The bus had stopped running hours earlier.

I knew the bus schedule, and I had a plan for getting home.  It was a simple plan.  I knew from a Google map that the arena was just a little more than 3 miles from my apartment.  I would walk to the closest bar, have a few drinks, and then call a cab.  So, I started walking, and I quickly realized the flaw in my plan.  There weren’t any bars on that road.  It was a pleasant evening, so I figured I’d just keep walking until I got tired and then call a cab.  I made it all the way home.  The last three blocks seemed to take me almost as long as the first three miles, but I made it, and I felt good when I got home.  Tired, but good.

The next day I checked my activity tracker and found that I had reached my daily goal for the first time ever.  I had taken a total of 12,453 steps and completed 4.67 miles.  I took a few more steps to my recliner and spent the rest of the day there.  No sense pushing myself too hard.  I’ve got to save my strength for November 12th, when The Dutchland Rollers take on the Mason Dixon Roller Vixens.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,


Watching The Wheels


I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round I really love to watch them roll No longer riding on the merry-go-round I just had to let it go.

-Watching The Wheels, John Lennon

Tonight is the Barnstormer’s last home game of 2016.  They didn’t make the playoffs, so this is my last chance to see them play this year.  Clipper Magazine Stadium will be dark until Spring.

I grew up a baseball fan, but I’ve always been a fan of Roller Derby, too.  Where I grew up in South Ozone Park, NY, we even played Roller Derby in the street.  We sometimes had to skate around parked cars on our “track,” and occasionally we had to skate around moving cars too, when some drivers felt like they had “dibs” on the road, and that we should be skating on the sidewalk.

I was a pretty good skater, but not nearly as good as my friend Vinny Nizza, whose nickname was Great Balls of Fire, and sparks could actually be seen coming from his skates when he skidded on a turn.  That was back before anyone had shoe skates with rubber or plastic wheels.  We had the old-fashioned kind of skates with metal wheels that clamped right onto your street shoes.  You tightened them onto your shoes using a skate key, like the one Melanie sang about when she sang, “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates.  You’ve got a brand new key.”

So, with the baseball season drawing to a close, I was looking forward to seeing the Women’s Roller Derby matches on September 10th, hoping to see my favorite Dutchland Rollers skater, #29, Vanitti, who pound-for-pound must be the best skater in Lancaster.  I say that because she probably only weights about 100 pounds soaking wet, which is about half of what some of the other girls weigh.  She looks more suited to be a thoroughbred jockey than a rock ‘em sock ‘em Roller Derby star.

IMG_1904_3Vanitti was in the starting line-up, so I wasn’t disappointed, but I did wind up conflicted before the night was over.  Lancaster’s opponents, The Harrisburg Area Roller Derby (H.A.R.D.) had some pretty good skaters, too, and I couldn’t help but cheer for #63, Holden Grudges, whenever she put on the jammers helmet.  She was awesome, not just pound-for-pound awesome, but sheer awesome.

In case you didn’t know this, a point is scored in Roller Derby whenever a jammer laps an opponent on the track.  Whenever Holden Grudges put on the jammer’s helmet, three of the Dutchland team members would wait at the rear of the pack for her to come around trying to lap them, and then they would gang up on her.  Actually, I should say that they would attempt to gang up on her.  It reminded me of a line in a Jack Reacher novel.  “There were three of them and only one of him.  It wasn’t going to be a fair fight, but that was their problem.”  The confrontation almost always ended with the same result – three Dutchland Rollers skaters splattered on the track and three more points on the board for Harrisburg.  Actually, Holden Grudges didn’t stop with just three points.  She’d skate around the track again and pass the fallen Rollers again, as they struggled to clear the cobwebs from their brains and get back on their feet.  In one jam, she scored 12 points.

Fortunately for the locals, all that skating leaves a jammer winded, so they usually have to sit out a jam or two while they catch their breath, and the locals managed to score many of their points whenever #63 was taking a breather.  In the end the Dutchland team emerged victorious 187 to 163.  Go Rollers.

Once, when I was extolling the pleasure of watching The Lancaster Barnstormers baseball games, my nephew asked mockingly, “Yeah, but what do you do in Lancaster when it’s not baseball season?”  The Barnstormer’s season is just about over, so I guess it’s time to answer that question.  First, I’d like to thank the Lancaster Barnstormers for all the joy they brought me this season, especially on $2 beer nights.  Enjoy the off season, guys.  In the meanwhile, I’ll just sit here watching the wheels go round and round.  I really love to watch them roll.


Go Vanitti.  Go Holden Grudges.  Go Rollers.  See you in the Spring, Barnstormers.


Peace & Love, and all of the above,