When my girlfriend first told me she was involved in roller derby, she paused to see if I'd flee.
Apparently, this fact had intimidated other potential suitors prior to her good fortune of meeting me.
I suddenly realized I was dating Kiss Kiss Bang Bang of the (now defunct) Bay Street Bruisers.
Kiss Kiss? Roller derby? Cool, I thought. Very cool.
I will be cool by association.
I do admit I was skeptical of this sport at first, as my only knowledge of it had been gleaned from television in the 80's. I had memories of big, scary women elbowing each other in the face and knocking opponents over the guardrail.
Well, real derby isn't like that, as it turns out. Elbowing is frowned upon. The skaters actually practice drills. They exhibit sportsman(woman?)ship. They play hard, hit each other cleanly (most of the time), and then go for beers after the game.
Many, many beers.
I went from sort of pretending to really like derby to actually really liking it rather quickly.
So here's me: not too flashy, not very loud. Pretty much the exact opposite of roller derby.
My girl, now going by a different derby moniker (which I won't mention in this post), is more outgoing and vocal than I am – much like derby. Opposites attract, as they say; so myself, Kiss Kiss and roller derby soon settled in for a threesome.
However, before long, I learned the meaning of 'derby widow'. That is a man (or woman) whose partner is involved in derby.
The term has some merit – with the derby games, the practices, the fundraisers, and other miscellaneous commitments (sometimes I just didn't ask), I didn't get to see Kiss Kiss very often in our early days.
Not to mention most of those derby-related tasks fell on weekends, the only chance I had to see her. You see, Kiss and I met through modern technology; we were residing about 100 km apart. But I drove south and then rode the rails every weekend to see her – now that is old-fashioned romance.
So I was really a third wheel. In fact, Kiss even broke up with me briefly so she could be with derby exclusively. Derby, you greedy bitch, I thought to myself.
That situation has since been remedied. I got tired of the train and just up and moved to the city. (Now I'm unemployed and spend my time blogging.)
The girl formerly known as Kiss Kiss still ignores me at times in favour of derby, but at least now I understand why. Derby is sexier. And to be fair, she met derby first. So it was really me that was the mister-ess.
However, the love triangle continues. And I get to take pictures of the whole affair.
Not a bad gig, if you ask me.
That being said, I will be shooting photos of Toronto Roller Derby's season opener between the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Death Track Dolls this Saturday, Feb. 5.
Tickets are going fast. Or so I hear (read).
Oh, and the league is fighting service cuts to the bus that gets skaters to games and practices, so ride the bus to the match to show support.
Oh, and there's beer for sale at the game. Did I mention that? If you miss that beer, there will be more beer during the after-party, you can bet on that.
I'll have the pictures to prove it.