Tuesday, April 1, 2014

For the Love of Words: Fishnets Edition

Holy bleep! I did a crossover! I can do a crossover! I surprised the hell out of myself the first time I did it. It is starting to feel like my skating is shaping up a little bit. And, in honor of no longer being the worst derby skater in the world, we will finish up The Words trilogy by going over some of the best words that apply to those on eight wheels.

I’m sure you have noticed, Derby Girls all have phenomenal asses. There are reasons that booty shorts are part of the Boutfit. Tight shorts show off the callipygian (having beautiful, shapely buttocks; 18th century bootylicious) curves those girls that have spent so many sweaty, aching hours doing squats and lunges. On skates.

Bet you didn’t know there was a word for that. Come to think of it, there has probably been a word for that for as long as there have been butts. Or, at least words.

I have schwellenangst (fear of trying something new) when it comes to booty shorts. I’ve seen the results of a skid across a track while essentially wearing a Speedo. Looks like it hurts. A lot.
Speaking of asses… Derby can be a real pygalgia (a literal pain in the buttocks). Just to be clear about the meaning of this word, MRIs are a pain in the ass. Rink rash is a pygalgia. A subtle, but important, distinction.

OK, esoteric Scrabble words aside, the best derby words are from the Derby Lingo. You probably won’t find these terms as answers for the New York Times Crossword. But if you learn to speak a little Derby before attending your first bout, I think you will enjoy it a little more. And don’t worry. Derby fans love to talk to a virgin (someone at their first derby bout) about the ins and outs. Uh… so to speak.

Aside—Derby is a serious game played by real athletes and elite teams. It is also is a lot of fun, with deep roots in a subculture. And it never takes itself too seriously. But—fair warning—never let the funny smirk you get when learning the lingo distract you. Because that blocker that was behind you is skating up next to you, with the sole purpose of knocking your ass to the ground.

Disclaimer—I don't, in any way, consider myself an athlete. But, I can do a crossover now! So there’s that.

I think we have covered the booty shorts. But there are other articles of derby clothing that complete your Boutfit. Panties are the helmet covers passed around to the skaters before (and occasionally during) a jam. The skater wearing the star panty is the Jammer—the one who scores the points— for the next jam. The panty with the large white stripe signifies the Pivot—the one who sets the pace.

Also found in the derby lingerie aisle, fishnets are a grand derby tradition. And wearing fishnets can result in the iconic fishnet burn—mark of a true Derby Girl. It is a form of rink rash (the badass result of skidding across the track), with an awesome criss-cross pattern. A CroKiss (a Velcro kiss) is another badge of honor. This abrasion happens when you rub against the Velcro of another skater’s pads.
So those are the burns. Then there are the injuries that occur when you make contact with another girl’s skate. Sometime in a, shall we say, sensitive area. Actually, when you are a super-talented faller like myself, you can actually land on your own skate. Skate Rape leaves you feeling slightly violated, and you might end up with a Giner Shiner (that would be a crotch bruise). Stop laughing. First of all, I didn’t name these things. And second, they hurt for days!

But it isn’t only a skate that can invade your personal space. One well-placed backward hand in perfect derby stance may land squarely between the legs of the skater behind you. It’s called a Beaver Cleaver. And this is how we end up such good friends with our teammates. This is also what makes co-ed derby so fun. I wonder what they call it when you cleave the guy behind you...

And then there is the injury that will take you out of the game for months. Nine months, to be specific. Remember, in Derby, it's better to get knocked down than knocked up.

Are Derby Girls hostile towards babies? After all, when a pack catches up with--and swallows--the jammer, it's called eating the baby. Paints quite the picture, doesn't it?

The only thing cuter than babies? Animals! And there are plenty of animals in Derby terminology. For example, you will often find a herd of Zebras (those would be the officials) in a barcode meeting. You might find a Goat (an opposing player held behind a blocking wall) being pulled away from her team, slowing her down, helping your team control the jam by setting the pace.

Then there is the rare and mythic Unicorn. When a jammer scores all five possible points by clearing the pack and lapping the opposing jammer, that is a Grand Slam. The epic Jammer that can do that five times in one jam? That’s the Unicorn.

There was a rule change in 2013 that made this next one obsolete. But it is too good not to include. Before the change, it was, on occasion, strategically beneficial for a skater to receive a penalty. For example, if they were sitting on three minor penalties, they might have wanted to pick up a fourth before they skated as the jammer. This reset their minor penalty tally. So they were intentionally picking up a minor. Or… wait for it… Cougaring.

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