Some of the bizarre perks to being a rollergirl are the events you get involved in. Some are charity based, some are guest bartending based, and some involve you freezing your tookus off skating in a parade for two hours, avoiding horse poop to the best of your abilities. This was my second year skating in a parade - the first year I definitely took a more subtle approach. Instead of waiting in the cold pre-parade line up, I sat on the curb by my house, laced up and ready to go as my neighbors stared sideways at me. "I'm in the roller derby, " I said. "Really, I'm going to join my friends as they come by." "Seriously, I'm one of them, I swear." They sipped their coffee suspiciously and tried not to engage me in further conversation. Finally the parade marched on, my fellow skaters whizzed by, and I was able to prove that I did actually know them. "See? See?? I'm cool!" Well, until a block later when I bit it on an asphalt crack.
This year I decided to attend the whole kitten caboodle - skate in the whole parade - and BOY what a mistake that was! I don't care who you are, you cannot be festive and wearing skates and wearing enough to remain warm in 30-degree-snow-flurrying weather. Not possible. Not even the giant inflatable candy cane balloon that kept blowing into our line of vision could cheer us up as we wondered things like "What's taking so long??" and "How come the Ravens football team gets to sit in a warm BUS, the big wusses??"
But eventually, thankfully, the parade started, we de-iced our toes and numbly skated along, trying to stay upright on the pothole-ridden street and emit tidings of happy jolly derby cheer. And it wasn't long before the community spirit hit us. We thought WE were cold - there were people of all ages sitting, standing, bundled up, lining the entire parade route. We were going to advertise the league, say hi to our fans, participate in fun local camaraderie. But these people on the sidelines - they were freezing their balls off just to say hi, smile, and encourage us on.
And that has to be, by far, one of the best parts I've experienced since moving to the city. Neighbors who will come out, hell or high water, all rosy-cheeked and drunk at 2:00 in the afternoon, just to show their support.
The title of this post is courtesy of John Roberts. :)