Friday, July 30, 2010

Greetings from the Sauna!

Here I am in Las Vegas. I have been here since Tuesday, but the Tropicana doesn't have free wi-fi, and schlepping my laptop the five or six blocks to the McDonald's on the strip is enough of a hassle that I have only done it twice. That's where I am now, enjoying the air conditioning and the Diet Coke.

I'll be honest: Rollercon kind of bites. Hanging with my derby girls is fun (and Boxxx finally got into town early this morning, so it's about to get even more fun). I'm not as much of a party-er as, well, pretty much everyone else, but I'm trying not to be a stick in the mud. Last night we went to the Hooters pool (the Tropicana's pool closes at 7 p.m., which is LAME), then to the Riedell (skate manufacturer) party, and then I was ready to call it a night ... so I skipped the Vagine Regime's Pants Off Dance Off party.

The problem is that everything is so fricking crowded. There are like 1700 people attending Rollercon. We have to be butting up against the maximum occupancy number for the Las Vegas Sports Center. It's crowded and hot and sweaty.

Rollercon has pretty much completely outgrown the Sports Center. There is only room for two tracks (and these are not full-size tracks either). So at any given time there are two skate classes going on, and they are supposed to be capped at 80 skaters (which is still too many for the space, in my opinion).

Yesterday we lined up at NOON to get tickets for the 4 p.m. skate classes. They gave out the tickets at 2 p.m. They only gave out 75 tickets (we got some; we were maybe 30th in line). But then when the class (Blocking Jammers Hate, taught by Suzy Hotrod -- more on that in a minute) started, there were at least 150 people on the track. It would not surprise me at all if it was more like 200. There were a few drills that we were all able to do, but not nearly all of them. A lot of it was Suzy teaching something, and then telling us to practice it at home. It's not her fault; there was simply no way for everyone to do everything.

Theoretically, the Sports Center is air-conditioned. That doesn't mean it was at all comfortable.

I'm pretty irritated (and I'm not the only one) about the training situation here. Seriously, they need to find a place to hold Rollercon that can accommodate all these people. I don't know if I would go again, anyway, but if it's in Vegas I will certainly not be back.

OK, Suzy Hotrod. I think she is my new girly-crush. :-) She's an amazing skater, and a really good teacher. She's funny and no-nonsense and awesome. We learned some cool new drills. I suppose the biggest thing I learned -- and this is pretty basic -- is "back, back, back, up." She had us call that out as we skated in two GINORMOUS packs. So basically, you're looking back over your shoulder for three beats, then ahead for one. Repeat. The reason that's cool is that usually when I am blocking I'm not sure where to look, and I'm trying to look behind me and still skate and it's just awkward as hell. Having a rhythm for it will help me.

At one point Suzy used me and another girl to demonstrate breaking up a wall (we were the wall). We were both in our best derby stances, nice and low, and Suzy said, "Be honest, would you really be that low in a practice?" We laughed and gave her a bit better opportunity to break through us, and she said, "Thanks for being the teacher's pets though." I'm not doing it justice -- it was really adorable. And Suzy, I'll be your teacher's pet anytime. :-)

With the lines and the crowds and all, I honestly don't know if I will get into another training session. I'm taking today off -- I'm going to hang out with Claudia a little later. (I woke up way earlier than I needed to.) Tomorrow there are no skating sessions I'm interested in; I will try to get into one on Sunday.

It's ridiculous: I'm at goddamn Rollercon, and I have geared up TWICE. That's it. I miss Sick Town. Brick is planning a practice for Saturday morning and honestly I would rather go to it than to another Rollercon event. Is that crazy?

This post is getting away from me, so I'm going to stop, and tell you all about the challenge bout I bench coached in another post.

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