I have such a love-hate relationship with Rollercon. There was a lot more love than hate this year, though. Overall, everything was much better organized this year. There was a lot less waiting in line for classes -- in fact, the only time I had to wait in line was when they had run out of tickets but still had some spaces in the class I wanted, and even that was only for 45 minutes. Otherwise, it was show up early, get a ticket, and then go have fun until class time. Great job, Rollercon!
We got into Vegas three hours later than we expected to, because our flight was delayed. Baggage claim at the Las Vegas airport took more than an hour (WTF, Vegas?) so by the time we got to the Riviera, it was about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. We went to the pub for drinks (for some reason, the Riviera has a British pub) and then to bed.
Tuesday was an easy day -- grocery shopping, early bird registration, and lounging by the pool.
Wednesday was the first day of Rollercon. I got downstairs at 9 a.m. and went to line up for my first class. I was there for maybe a couple of minutes when Rex Havoc (awesome ECRG blocker and Rollercon volunteer) walked up and handed me a ticket, and said I didn't have to wait in line. Since I remembered what last year was like (long lines, and then maybe you got your class and maybe you didn't), I was pretty gobsmacked.
First class was "Feet Don't Fail Me Now," taught by Jack Hammer (coach of the Lake Tahoe derby league). It was *great* -- it was the most active class I took all week, and I got to do a lot of cool footwork stuff.
In the afternoon, I skated in my first challenge bout: Robot Chicken vs. Family Guy. I was on Robot Chicken. We were probably going to lose, judging by the score and by the fact that the Family Guy team just had better teamwork than we did; but then the floor started falling apart and the refs called the bout after about 15 minutes (of a 30-minute bout). The floor was sheets of plywood laid on top of carpet, with Skate Court (interlocking plastic flooring designed for skating) laid on top of that. The plywood sheets started drifting apart, and it was definitely not safe to skate on.
After that, I got in line for my second class of the day: Blocking Combinations with Iron Maiven (of the L.A. Derby Dolls; she was portrayed by Eve Bell in the movie "Whip It," and she also had a small role as one of the Manson Sisters). She was really cool and definitely knows her stuff. This class was a little less intense than the other one, but I still learned a lot. There were a lot of STDD and Cherry City girls in the class, which was cool. Edie Disorder said my booty blocking isn't as bad as I think it is. Yay!
Thursday ... God, what the hell did I do on Thursday? I had my second challenge bout, Medium Rare vs. Leafy Greens. I was on Medium Rare; we lost, and again, I think it was due to superior teamwork by the Greens. The bout was in the morning. I tried to take a class, Ninja Blocking, in the afternoon, but my back was hurting and skating was making it worse. D'oh. I did sit and take notes on the rest of the class, though. Thursday night we walked to the Bellagio and saw the fountain. It was pretty cool. The Strip was just as grody as last year, though it's pretty good for people-watching.
Friday, I was feeling overwhelmed by the social aspects of Rollercon (people everywhere) and I wanted to get away from the Riviera (which is kind of a low-end casino and was starting to depress me a bit) and the Strip. My friend Rayda came and picked me up, and we wandered around some non-Strip Vegas. The highlight, other than meeting Rayda in person and hanging out with her, was this little frozen custard stand called Luv It that is apparently a Vegas institution. The almond chip ice cream was *fantastic*. Next year I am dragging everyone there at least once.
Friday night was the Black and Blue Ball, which is not my kind of party (my kind of party involves a small group of friends, board games, pizza and a bottle of wine). It was hot as hell, and outdoors by the pool, and hella crowded once it got going. I didn't last too long. Everyone (including the Rollercon website) says you have to wear black or blue, but I don't think anyone actually gave a shit, and I know at least one person who wore tan. (shrug)
Saturday morning was my final challenge bout: Green Horns vs. Fresh Meat. There were four Sick Town girls on my team (Green Horns): me, Flash, Tuna and F.U. Bones was our coach. Early on, we were down by maybe 20 points, but after that we started doing a lot better, shutting down their jammers and getting ours through, and we ended up winning by something like 15-20 points (I don't remember the exact score). Bones said we did a good job of listening to her and doing what she told us to do, which is awesome. There was one jam where all four Sick Town girls went out as blockers, with a girl from another league as jammer. We rocked it! It was really cool being out there with my teammates.
Saturday was also my final class: Baby Got Back, with Quadzilla. For the non-derby people reading this, Quadzilla is a rock star of the derby world. In his words, he has been skating since he was an embryo, and it shows. He's just freaking effortless (well, I mean, he obviously makes a lot of effort. He *looks* effortless). I saw him in a challenge bout, and he was jamming, and two of his blockers were in the box. The two blockers he had, weren't all that effective. Didn't matter. Quadzilla just cut through the pack like a hot knife through butter.
The class was booty blocking, and using your butt and back to block. That's awesome, because those are skills I definitely need to work on. We did some cool drills, a lot of which I actually remember.
Saturday night was the Bay Area Derby vs. Mile High Club bout, which we watched from a skybox. That was kind of cool, though thanks to the position of the boxes and of the track, we couldn't see the near apex at all so we kind of missed a lot of the bout. But what the hell. I was surprised that Bay Area (a nationally-ranked team) didn't have better teamwork than they did. (Mind you, they could totally wipe the floor with me.) After that was the derby wedding, which is kind of silly but fun. Boxxx and Bones got married, and all of us Dis-Orderlies (me, Tuna, Flash, D Train and Chelle) wore our jerseys and booty shorts and were their bridesmaids.
And then Sunday morning we caught a shuttle at 5:20 a.m., flew out at 8 a.m., and were home by 11:30 a.m. I'm glad I went to Rollercon, but I'm also glad to have it in my rear-view mirror. I'll probably go next year.