So it turns out that my girlfriend is a total bad ass.
(I promised this post a while back and im finally getting to it.)
You may know that i refer to my girlfriend as 'X'. This stands for Xcelerator. Why Xcelerator?Because she used to play Roller Derby and that was her Roller Derby name. Are you familiar with Roller Derby? Were you aware that Kansas City has a Roller Derby league? Were you aware that America has a roller derby league and that every year there is a National Championship?
Well its time for you to get in the know.
So the inspiration for this post happened a few weeks ago when X and i attended the Roller Derby regionals which were being held at Municipal Hall in downtown KC. X doesn't play anymore, she's too busy riding her bicycle i guess, but she loves to go back and cheer on her old teammates. P.S. If you haven't been to a game i highly suggest you go. Lots of fun.
So i've been to several games with X but it wasent until this regional match that i fully realized just how good she used to be. Were standing there watcing and people are coming up to her just to say how awesome they think she is. It's crazy! I'd witnessed a little of this before. My favorite moment was after a game last year, we were standing outside Municipal and an older couple, in their 60's and total hippies, walk up to us. "Excuse me" says the guy, "are you Xcelerator?"
My girlfriend is a celebrity!
So like i said i knew she was kind of a big deal, but it really hit home at this regional match. People have a lot of respect for her. When strangers find out she used to skate and she tells them her derby name was Xcelerator, well, peoples eyes get a little wider. It's wild and really fun to be standing next to her during all this.
Let's do a quick history of Xcelerator on roller skates.
She was a rink rat growing up in Springfield, MO. That means she hung out at the roller skating rink a lot. Soon she got into speed skating. Not on ice skates but on roller skates. She's a competitive person so she took this seriously, flying around the country to participate in events and trying to be the best she could be. Quick side note, there are some pretty fast cyclists who used to be speed skaters. The guy who won Snake alley this year, Chad Burdsilaukas, and local fast man Adam Miller were both speedskaters who skated with X.
So, she did the speed skating thing for about 12 years and got really good at it, but not great like she wanted. She never won any national championships. Now that fact that im even mentioning national championships should tell you how seriously she took it.
She trained hard.
Then college started and she stopped skating competitively. After college she moved to Kansas City and found out about Roller Derby. The KC league was going in to it's fourth year so she decided to go and try out. Before she even skated a tryout she mentioned that she had over 10 years experience as a competative speed skater, the other girls ears perked up. Specifically Snot Rocket. Shot is a bad ass and realized what she had on her hands, she pulled some strings to get X on the team. Apparently X showed up after official tryouts were over and therefore technically couldn't join the team till next year (Derby seems to have a lot of red tape), but Snot knew they needed this girl and Snot had the clout to get her on the team so she made it happen. This was the beginning of the Snot Rocket / Xcelerator one two punch.
So X makes the team and quickly became a big contributor.
The way roller derby works is that each participating city has their own small league. KC has 4 teams. These 4 teams play each other throughout the season but then the best players from those 4 teams form one All Star team and then all the All Star teams from around the country play each other and ultimately compete for the National Championship.
So the local games are fun but the All Star games are really where it's at.
X makes the all-star team.
Which brings us to the Roller Derby National Championship, 2007. Xcelerators first year and the pinnacle of her short but outstanding Roller Derby Career.
Now keep in mind that i didnt know X during all this but in the almost two years that we've been together i've slowly learned about all the awesomeness that is the history Kansas City roller derby. Like the fact that KC was the 4th team in the country and now there are over 500. These girls were way ahead of the curve. KC represent!
Anyway, back to 2007 and the Roller Derby National Championship...
So it's 2007 and The Kansas City roller warriors have made the playoffs but are major underdogs. But, they do have Xcelerator and Snot Rocket, which means they're dangerous. Xcelerator, who is new on the scene and flying under the radar, is about to come out of nowhere and show these derby girls what 15 years of competitive speed skating can do. Snot Rocket is already well established and a major force to be reckoned with. If Xcelerator is Lou Gherig then Snot Rocket is the Babe Ruth of Roller Derby. Even X would admit this. Snot Rocket is a legend in the derby world.
With these two weapons, plus and entire team thats hungry and has nothing to lose, the team goes on and somehow, against all odds, makes the finals. They play Rat City (Seattle) for the Championship. It's a back and forth game that comes down to the final jam, and amazingly, KC wins it!
I've looked at pictures and talked to X and her derby friends about it, it was an amazing moment. Like winning the superbowl. To this day that National Championship game between The Kansas City Roller Warriors and Rat City is remembered as one of the most exciting championship games ever! I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it. If you've been to a game than you know how seriouisly these girls take it. they're sweating and yelling the whole time, shoot, they practice like 4 times a week for at least 2 hours. These girls are for real.
So to put in that kind of work, and then win it all, well, i'm sure it was a powerful moment that none of them will ever forget.
And to top it off, Xcelerator is named MVP of the tournament!
So, no wonder people remember her.
She only played one more season after that and then she got into cycling. Honestly, I think she regrets retiring when she did. There is a real comradery between the girls and i know she misses that. As well as the thrill of competition. It's a little like amateur bicycle racing in that sense. Actually, there are a lot of parallels between the two.
Both are niche sports, both are filled with characters that are looking for a little something more out of life, and both seem to have an underlying goodness to them. Cycling, like derby, takes people with passion to make it happen. Not just riding and racing, but putting on races and events and bringing people together. Not for money or recognition (although both are available) but because they love to do it. Derby girls who just finished a bout are staying after to clean up the venue, bike racers who just finished are staying after to clean up a venue. People are donating their time, making things happen.
I dont want to get to cheesy here, but people are doing this because they believe in it. Because the want to create something. Because they want to be a part of something. Because they love it. Thats a great foundation, for anything.
*The timing of this post is perfect (on purpose) because the 2011 National Championship final tournament actually started tonight, and about 30 minutes ago KC won it's first game... they're advancing! The Championship game is on Sunday, Let's go KC!!!
Click here to follow the action this weekend.
So how about it Xcelerator, time for a comeback?