That old saying, “What goes around, comes around ” isn’t just for schoolyard bullies, mafia vendettas or your uncle Rick’s Hunkahunka Burnin Love chili.
Just wait 40 years and that dated, tacky, thinga-ma-bob you have tucked in the back of your closet might magically morph all the way past “normal and boring” to reach the lofty heights of “vintage and retro”.
One of my favourite examples of this phenomenon is the resurgence of Roller Derby.
I already boast a hidden talent for roller skating.
Little did you know.
Growing up before the invention of inline skates, my sister and I had 4-wheeled roller skates that you could fit over the bottom of your shoes. They had keys that would allow you to expand or contract the size of the skates to fit you as you grew. We wore ours to skate around the concrete-floored furnace room in our childhood home until our gangly tween feet were sticking well past the end of the skates.
Sometimes, we crashed, spectacularly, into the chest freezer by accident so we saw that as a sign to sneak some frozen brownies out of its frosty depths. It’s important to stay nourished while roller skating…even when your mother was saving those brownies for Christmas.I think inline skates had been invented by then, but where’s the fun in that when you can trip over your own toes and ankles and get verboten brownies as a reward?
I vaguely remember roller derby being on TV in the ’70s. I recall black eye shadow, helmets, and laughing, slightly intimidating women. Then, it disappeared, presumably labelled, as many not-yet-old-enough-to-be-cool things are, as dated and tacky.
I myself am a fan of dated and tacky. And, with my hidden talent for roller skating, I was thrilled to discover that Roller Derby is not dead!
40 years later, Roller Derby has re-emerged as vintage, retro and oh-so-cool.
I go to the local bouts and cheer on the teams (even though lots of times I’ve got only a tenuous grasp of what’s happening and why the jammer is constantly “calling things off” – commitment-phobe or what?). I put my hair in pigtails and sport my Kingston Derby Girls merch and dance around in my hot pink-and-black high top runners. I aspire to be vintage, retro and oh-so-cool. Like Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page and Kristen Wiig, in the movie, Whip-It.
I am a total derby girl wannabe.
Albeit with great, derby girl shoes and a history of stealing off-limit brownies.
My friend Smiley (not her real name), whose derby name is Luci Fleur, is not a documented fraidy cat. She is a totally vintage, retro cool DERBY GIRL!
Check out her tattoo, knee pads, sparkly hot pants and BIG SMILE!
I have the same t-shirt so I pretend I’m her, sometimes. Y’know, when I’ve had too much caffeine and am more delusional than usual.
Luci Fleur does some announcing when she’s not playing and then she heads into the fray to do her derby deeds. During the bout, there are jams and jammers, blockers and people in the penalty box. From the stands, the announcers calling the play-by-play sound like Charlie Brown’s parents but that’s okay. Part of the fun is the mystery of not really knowing what’s happening.
I aspire to be tough and cool enough to end up in the penalty box. Luci Fleur is there frequently and she encourages me (when she’s had too much caffeine, I think) to try out for the team. Even though Smiley knows me, she seems to think I could handle the:
- skating while remaining mostly upright (my hidden talent for roller skating is 35 years out-of-date)
- wearing of fishnets and short-shorts/short-skirts/shiny underpants (take your pick because none of them will nearly cover my jiggly bits)
- pain, pain, and more pain (refer back to fraidy-cat part)
I am flattered to be considered by the vintage, retro cool kids. I am tempted to sign up, even though there don’t appear to be any brownies involved.
Oh so tempted.
Maybe I will stop hiding in the stands and try out someday. Especially since I’ve already got my derby name:
“Goody Two Skates”, seems fitting.