Monday, October 21, 2013

Roller Derby, Roadside Cryptozoology, and Old School Funk Night

Sometimes, the only way to properly acknowledge that the work week has ended and the weekend has begun is to go roller skating at a rink that my grandparents might have gone roller skating at, with twenty or thirty men and women who really, really think roller skating is best when it's a full contact sport.

And so it was that I found myself at Roller Garden, a roller rink I've been meaning to go to for some time, on Old School Funk night, strapping on my blue suede skates with the men of the Twin Cities Terrors, along with a few of the North Star Rollergirls and I do believe one or two of the MN Rollergirls were in attendance as well.

The new wood floor is gorgeous, and awesome to skate on.

Have you met the derby folk? Because I would love to introduce you to some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet that can't wait to kick your ass. On wheels.

On the off chance you don't know about modern roller derby, here's the scoop: it's all real. These men and women are real athletes, really competing. They've kept a little bit of the fun and showmanship of the alligator-pit-era, but there is nothing pseudo-sport about derby.

And in the incredibly likely case that you haven't heard of Roller Garden, and the mysterious cryptid contained within, allow me to clue you in on a historic place in Middle Coast roller skating. Roller Garden was built in the 1930s and has survived, as a roller rink, since. How many roller rinks do you remember going to as a kid that are still open?  How many that your parents went to?  How many that your grandparents could have gone to? Show a little respect.  The one I went to as a kid was a furniture store in it's last incarnation - rink still intact under Lay-Z-Boys and such - until it was torn down.

Like any proper crytpid, the Roller Garden dinosaur  is impossible
to capture in anything but the blurriest photos.
Well, as you can imagine, the roller derby folk like to skate. And if there's a cool place to skate, you can bet that the derby folk know about it and have skated it. You'll recognize them if you see them because they are all far, far better skaters than you. Personally, I'm pretty happy when I make it through a skating session without falling too hard. These people... well, I'll just say they can skate and leave it at that.

By the way, October is National Roller Skating month, so go skate already.


Erik said...

After reading this I had to Google "Skatevill Burnsville". I remember taking the kids there in the late 80's/early 90's.. It still exists.
Ahh memories!

Trobairitz said...

My general practitioner prefers I don't roller skate. Although he'd be able to put his kids through college if I tried.

SpartanBabe used to roller derby - don't want to mess with her. She's turned to motorcycles - they're safer.

bob skoot said...


sorry, I've tried ice skating but you have to learn to fall so you don't get your fingers cut off, and then with no brakes the only way I could stop was to run into the wall and after a while your feet start hurting too much. I'd imagine this would be the same with roller skating.

Riding the Wet Coast

Richard M said...

The last time I went roller skating was in 1982, I twisted my ankle, tore a tendon and it's still bothering me to this date. Roller skating is dangerous.…

Have fun.

Lucky said...

Erik - I used to go to Skateland when I was in elementary school. I have yet to experience Skateville, but I'm sure I will one of these days.

Trobairitz - Really? My GP thinks it's pretty cool. ;) As far as being dangerous... ATGATT on skates too.

Bob Skoot - Well, I think there's a little less danger of getting a finger cut off on roller skates, but I see your point.

Richard M - I always have fun... :)

mq01 said...


i dont know about motorcycles being safer. i cant see a "left turner" killing skaters.

you may dig this; i grew up around some greats:

i wanna play with that dinosaur...

Canajun said...

That's sounds like a cool place, but I think I'll stick with ice skates.

Lucky said...

mq01 - Thanks for the link! The dinosaur seemed pretty friendly, apart from being a little reclusive.

Canajun - Ice skating is fun, but I've discovered a couple reasons why falling on a wood floor is better than falling on ice:
1. Wood flooring is softer than ice.
2. Wood flooring is warm.

Chris Cope said...

Men's roller derby? Good lord. There is no way I'd participate in such a thing in The Hockey State. We had some hockey dudes on my rugby team and they LOVED hurting people. After the whistle blew, they were the nicest, coolest dudes on the planet. But God help the individual in their way during a game. Roller derby seems like it would be a nonstop check-fest. I hurt thinking about it.

Lucky said...

Chris Cope - Men's roller derby is a non-stop check-fest, but that's kind of what roller derby is: hockey without all the boring parts.

Actually, seeing men's roller derby after seeing women's roller derby was a bit of a shock. I had assumed there were rules against just bashing your way through, because rollergirls don't do that so much.

Turns out it's not against the rules.