Post from the RoadPosted in Project Blog by Juvie
Hello From Johannesburg!
The weather has been delightful and the people even delightful-er. I’m staying with one of the coaches and skaters of the C-Max roller derby league, Pippa “Madame Gutterfly” Van Welie. Punctuated by dazzling evening lightning storms and tales of giant spiders (which I have yet to see, thank goddess), we’ve had an awesome week packed full of derby.
The three-year old C-Max league was the very first roller derby league in all of Africa. (There are now several other leagues in South Africa, including in Cape Town, Blomfontein, Grahamstown and Durban, as well as a league in Cairo, Egypt.) Founded by Melinda Lotz and Candice “Ling Vom Bot” van Niekerk, of Johannesburg, the league spent its first year learning derby from YouTube videos and skating surreptiously in parking lots.
The league now has a large indoor venue, a la Rose City’s Hangar but with two tracks, and is comprised of four home teams: The Slam Damsels, The Thundering Hellcats, The Raging Warmones, and Hate City; as well as an active Fresh Meat program and the newly-formed All Star Travel Team. I get to skate with all of them!
In apparent keeping with Flat Track Around the World tradition (see Rickrolling), I sustained a minor injury at my very first practice here in Johannesburg. Practicing with the Slam Damsels, I got a wheel to the inside ankle bone. Doesn’t sound very terrible, and really it wasn’t super painful, but when I looked down a moment later, my entire ankle was insta-bruised. And, presumably because my ankles were still approximately 18 times their normal size after having spent 20+ hours on a plane, it was not only insta-bruised, but insta-seeping bruise–the blood had immediately seeped into all the swelling around my ankle. Ew. Now I have a lovely grey-green-black puffy ankle bracelet. I am so attractive right now!
I’d Rather Have an Ankle Bracelet
As lovely as my ankle bracelet is, I am glad to have it, considering that just before my plane landed in Joburg, one of the league’s travel team skaters, Aimee Faye Tality Olsen, broke her tibia and fibula in practice. Pippa Van Welie and Melinda Lotz had just seen her off in the ambulance when they came to fetch me from the airport. We got to visit Aimee at the hospital yesterday after her surgery and, despite the nasty looking x-rays, she doesn’t even need a cast. Thanks to a steel rod in her bone, she’ll be back up and skating in plenty of time.
Plenty of time for what, you ask? Well…
Team South Africa
South Africa is ending a team to the 2014 World Cup in Dallas, Texas! Applications are now open and more information can be found on their Facebook page: Team South Africa.
A Bout to Remember
If Johannesburg’s travel team is any indication, Team South Africa should be a competitive force in international derby. I had the awesome pleasure of skating against the travel team in the league’s final bout of the year on Friday, December 13th. The event, “Nightmare Before Christmas” was the first time this travel team has bouted together and let me tell you, they were formidable! Though it was an exciting and hard-fought bout, the travel team defeated our mixed team (the Santa Sleighers) by something like 150 points. Despite the blow-out score, it didn’t feel like a blow-out bout and everyone–skaters and fans alike–seemed excited to participate.
I’m really looking forward to attending travel team practice on Monday night. These ladies have fire and strength and all the guts. It’s an honor to be here.