Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Trails (Derby is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, part 2)

I've had a lot of fun blogging about/for the Heathers these past couple of years. Now I'm going to bow out. I still like derby and revere the Heathers, but have lost the energy for derby writing. I hope JeLLyPiG and others who have contributed here will hang with it, so I have something to read on the CI about the Heathers now and again.

The idea for the Coroner's Inquest originated in a guest blog post over at "All Bout Derby," which read in part:

Derby is fucking fun for a fan, and it's fun trying to figure out more about it by bugging the people who actually do it.

I want more information. I would like all the local teams to have a site on blogspot. com or some other easily updated and accessible (i.e., without-login, i.e. not Facebook or MySpace site) where team updates, skater profiles, news announcements, photos, and YouTube videos would be posted. Associated with those sites would be mailing lists that would announce updates. A skater or a friend of the team could be editor, but the team blog site would engage fans and other interested parties, and would encourage discussion among skaters and fans. Not everyone would have to participate - not everyone enjoys on-line interaction, but an avenue would be created for league-to-fan and team-to-fan-and-back-again information. The blogs would tell me that Ginger Binger had been drafted to the Heathers and was skating the next bout, that Megahurtz would be sitting this one out, that November Pain's pink triangle on her butt was just an emblem of the company that sold her those butt-saving padded shorts, and why Ameana Acid was no longer a Heather but was now a High Roller.

Do most people care that much or want that much information? Maybe not. Maybe they don't mind being surprised that Goodie Two Skates is no longer on the High Rollers, that Sump Pump is finally a Heather again, that Donna De Dead quit the Betties, or that Harm is no longer G'n'R, but such things matter to some of us who build, in our tiny minds, a little drama with a specific cast, a narrative of the cosmos that we can follow. I would love to know what team line-ups I will be seeing next bout, how that skater's ankle is treating her, who will be skating for the last bout of her career, what Fresh Meat will make an immediate difference to her new team.

But who among the many volunteers of roller derby (from bout volunteer to league president) has time to be a blogmaster? And would it mean anything real in terms of fan engagement and increased attendance, or would it just be giving geeks like me something to read on a Saturday night when I should be preparing tomorrow's sermon?

Hm. Well, that's all kind of funny, in retrospect. After reading that, Ringer emailed me to ask if I'd be up to blogging for the Heathers. I couldn't refuse. And obviously, the content here hasn't turned out quite the way I envisioned, but there has been some stuff to read now and again.

What I enjoyed most in doing the blog was finding out about people through the skater interviews and fan profiles. Thanks to all the great interview subjects. You're really remarkable people, every one of you.

Fortunately for everybody, the local on-line derby world has really blossomed lately, what with the G'n'R blog, the RCR blog, fan forums, and skater profiles, not to mention the Facebook and Twitter pages of all the RCR teams. Derby fans have many information sources now, and can go play on-line in any number of venues. I urge you to do so.

And now, for a final disjointed paragraph: Thanks, Heathers. Your autographed 2008 Championship photo hangs in my office, where it receives much adoration. I will be yelling for you in the semis and the finals. You're my favorite sports team ever.