Maria and I went to the graduation bout for Dunedin Roller Derby, and we left really impressed.Â For one, there were few really talented skaters for whom this would have been one of their first (if not their first) bout.Â Honey Blaze on the white team and May Maim in black stood out for me as ones to watch out for, but they certainly were not the only ones skating their hearts out.
The main thing we came away impressed by was what happened when one of the women was injured (my apologies, but I can’t remember who it was!). She went down with an ankle or leg injury right in front of us, and at a signal everyone on the track stopped immediately as it got sorted out.
You could feel a palpable sense of concern from everyone in the room: an empathic response to her obvious pain.Â No baying for blood, no awful schadenfreude that haunts other sports, just a genuine gasp and furrowing of worried brows.Â The MC handled it well, calling for a valedictory round of applause after an appropriate moment to get everyone displaying their concern, and segue back to the action.
The bout, as well as getting new faces into competition, also blooded some referees and bench staff from the existing players.Â Another great night, another couple of sceptical friends won over.
Oh, and a last note: the belly dancing in the intermission was marvellous.Â Whoever is organising the half time entertainment seems to get the tastes of the audience really well.