Podunk Meets Paradise

Musings from Central Idaho

Archive for the tag “roller derby”

Cold Muthas Heat Up the Ice

My new women’s hockey team is progressing at a much faster pace than I had anticipated after our 1st practice, which mainly consisted of sorting our gear and convincing our middle school age coaches that we were serious enough to warrant them getting up before noon to help us.

By practice 2, word had spread that something hot was happening on the ice, and we had about 10 Cold Muthas playing red light-green light under the patient tutelage of gifted skater (and 6th grader) Coach Keyra.

Last Friday marked practice 3, and it was clear that even with the addition of 2 new skaters, we were ready for a scrimmage. Maybe we were too anxious to scrimmage, which might explain why when one of the new skaters — who admitted she had entered her 6th decade — couldn’t fit into the toddler size helmet we tried to scrunch on her head, we may have told her that her Floyd R. Turbo-style earflap hat would do just fine.

Floyd R. Turbo with earflap hat or hockey helmet.

Floyd R. Turbo with earflap hat or hockey helmet.

Also, in our haste to stop the endless “skills drills” and get to playing a real game of hockey, we also assumed the other new skater didn’t know how to skate which caused me to not protest when she was put on the opposing team. I was soon to suspect that this “new skater” was none other than Pippi Broadknockings from the Big Mountain Misfits roller derby team.

Now in the pros, NHL players go out on the ice and skate fiercely for 2, maybe 3 minutes at a time, then they leap into the bench area and are relieved by another player. This is called “switching on the fly.” Fortunately, the Cold Muthas were playing 4-on-4 with no substitutes so there was no possibility of “switching on the fly” which would have been re-named “switching while shredding your groin muscle and getting stitches in your forehead.” Instead, we had no breaks. Although this solved the problem of not having to switch on the fly, the endless skating back and forth after the incorrigible puck began to cause breathing difficulties and heart arrhythmia. The only way we could earn a break was to fall or score a point.

To be fair, we did both; but the falls achieved a longer rest period. This is because women who have decided to take up the sport of hockey just a tad after said sports career is totally rational get quite a bit of attention when they fall. Both my children, Her Royal Highness and Odd Number, play hockey and they fall on the ice and get up in one fluid movement. Not so the Cold Muthas. We lie there and stay still for a few minutes to make sure our spine has not shattered and the vertebrae clattered across the rink like spilled ice cubes. The other players stand still also, genuinely concerned, but also genuinely glad to not be skating and to be breathing oxygen.

Coach Conrad asks if we want to just play on half the rink and we turn on him.

I see a chance for my team to score — the puck oh-so-close to the juicy middle of the net — and Pippi Broadstockings doesn’t even see that I’m making my 20-yard move up the ice. But one of the major drawbacks of starting a sport later in life is that your head and your body have to confer about exactly what you are trying to accomplish, rather than the split second mind-body motion of seasoned athletes. My body was doing its best to get me moving as quickly as it felt possible on the ice, but as my mind was starting to try to explain to my body how relatively close the net area is to the wooden boards that connote the end of the rink and that even though we dropped physics in high school so we could take Home Ec Foods II we still should know how this is going to work out …

The entire front of my body hit the boards first, and then by the force of physics, my backside got a turn, my helmet making a sound on the ice like the cracking of an egg. I was incredibly pleased to not be wearing an earflap cap.

Do I have regrets? Absolutely not. I have gotten by just fine without Physics and Foods II has proven to be a lifetime sport.

Flathead Here We Come Part 3

The stated motivation of our trip to Whitefish was to finish the Salmon Lady Rapids’ hockey season with a win at the Montana State Girls 19 & Under Tournament. While Idaho has an innovative semiconductor industry, Montana has a much more developed girls’ hockey program. They actually have enough teams to divide into an A and B category — A indicating that nearly all the girls on the team can tie their own skates, and B denoting that to supplement your team you may have picked up players from last night’s roller derby event.

Tourney organizers classified us as Type B, slating the Salmon Lady Rapids against Whitefish, a Helena/Bozeman combined team, and a group of 1st graders from Kalispell. The Whitefish team is fortunate enough to sport the Craven sisters, whose dad was an NHL player (read this if you think I’m lying) and are both being actively recruited  by the Philadelphia Flyers. B League hockey is probably not their only future.

Under any circumstances, the Salmon Lady Rapids showed up against Whitefish Sunday morning with a vengeance. It was fun to watch our kid, Her Royal Highness, come out and skate like her hair was on fire.

Her Royal Highness w/ Shot on Goal

We walked away with the win …

a good solid B win, and great merriment. Next, with the Flathead Valley firmly conquered, the Iron Chef and I offloaded the children to another unsuspecting Salmon minivan driver, and hightailed it to the Bitterroot Brewery invite-only Beer Dinner in Hamilton. This was turning out to be the best hockey trip ever!

Flathead Here We Come Part Dos

There’s plenty to like about Whitefish, Montana, even if you are dedicated to watching the Montana State Girls Hockey Tournament and not to going skiing at Big Mountain, snowshoeing or nordic skiing.

For instance, there’s the Pin & Cue Bowling Alley where for $15 your kids can bowl and eat as much pizza as they want in 2 hours while you pretend you are going to the car to check on something and then you go to the Great Northern Brewing Company. The building is gorgeous and the 2nd floor draught house has an incredible view, not to mention good eats and a divine elixir known as Good Medicine. Skiiers hadn’t finished their business yet at Big Mountain, so the place was mellow as can be — a stark contrast to later in the evening when Iron Chef and I returned, perhaps to buy a T-shirt, perhaps to sip a pint, and we were greeted by red carpet literally rolling out when we opened the door.

Ah, you shouldn’t have, was our first impression, but as a scurrying young woman backchecked us out of the way so they could begin duct taping the carpet to the humble concrete floor, I began to doubt this treatment was meant for the Podunks. Since I’m sort of a reporter, I decided to snoop around. “What gives?” I asked the scurrying young woman. “Is something going on here?”

She helped me understand. “Private party,” she said, pointing to the sign next to me that said PRIVATE PARTY. Gee thanks.

We left the Great Northerners to do their bootlicking, and as we walked out the door and the black SUV with the woman in the white fur showed up, we exhaled, “Whewee! Are we glad we have tickets to the roller derby or what?”

Say what? That’s right, because we live right, we just happened to be in the Flathead Valley when the local flat track roller derby team — the Big Mountain Misfits — were tangling with the Hel’z Belles crew from Helena at  the local fairgrounds. We arrived about 15 minutes early just in time to get the worst parking spot at the fairgrounds. The big metal shed was rockin.

Roller derby tended not to attract the shi-shi-la-la crowd, so the Podunks (with several Salmon Lady Rapids in tow)  felt at ease…

Last of Mohicans and Flannel

Support Swollen Members?

Other than, it never occurred to me to show up with a cool roller derby name and corresponding sleeveless shirt.

Bea Lawless

As a patriot, I couldn’t help but favor Babe Lincoln; Skaty Perry had the Salmon Lady Rapids vote; Iron Chef seemed to have his eye on Screwella.

Now after watching 3 games of Montana State Tournament hockey played by frenzied 13-17 year-old females with attitude, I have to admit that the pace and physicality of flat track roller derby were a tad underwhelming. But the spectacle of it all left nothing to be desired.

Hel’z Belles v. Big Sky Misfits

Now if we could just get them to serve Good Medicine….

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