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Roller Skating for...Women Old Enough to Know Better

eebee's picture

This originally was a comment to Roadskater's article A Simple Introduction to High Intensity Interval Training for Cardiovascular Fitness, but I got so excited about it, it deserves to appear on the main page.

I tried the 'more' link in the sidebar and found exciting stuff I would not have otherwise, such as this:

 Jan. 3-March 26. "Roller Skating for Fun and Fitness for Women Old Enough to Know Better." (great title, BTW).

The purpose of the program: "Women build strength, endurance, balance, cardio, agility and flexibility, while also building confidence, friendships and a sense of community. You practice skills and drills related to competitive roller derby without the contact or impact of that sport".

If I weren't a skater, that would get my attention, specifically the Roller-Derby fitness on a non-confrontational level. I have given a lot of thought to a non-contact Roller/Ice Hockey or Roller Derby but realized that anybody interested in that would be too shy to sign up in the first place. 

Here's more:

"Derby Lite is a fun but rigorous workout that requires participants to be able to take part in a mid-intensity cardio drill for 20 minutes without stopping and to be able to fall and get up without assistance (we teach you how to fall properly). Two-hour weekly work-outs include: dynamic warm-ups, free skate time, learn-to-skate skills training, high intensity skating drills, upper body strength exercises and cool-down stretching"

Well, I fall plenty without any assistance!

Here's the direct link to the program. It's a well-presented webpage - pretty and simple with juicy terminology to whet your appetite for something fun and sustainable, while whipping you into shape. Ladies, if you live near this program, just go try it. They even provide a "Try Before You Buy" session, for all you commitment phobes. 

I'm not a fan of the term 'Lite' but who am I to judge someone who's actually doing something to bring the joy of skating to the cross-section of our society that probably needs it the most?! I appreciate that 'Lite' may be a safe, familiar term for ladies who don't even allow themselves a 20 minute walk each day. 

But what a great idea! I would certainly have tried this if I'd seen it before the Team in Training A2A ad in 1999. There are a lot of women past 30 who would love to be able to just balance on skates while looking even vaguely graceful, but most of them don't dare try, or don't get past their driveway. I have witnessed 'boot-camp' type private trainers lunge-marching their paying cadets around the third of a mile track at my local park. This the point at which I try to lure them into skating by forcing my legs into a 45 degree bend, stifling my breathing and trying to look like I'm in control. Of course by the time I'm far away from them on the opposite side of the football field and hidden by the bleachers I'm skating like a wooden doll with my quads in agony.  But the Derby Lite program looks like it provides a safe enclosure to be a total goofball until you can balance and eventually reap the cardio and saddle-bag benefits of skating. 



roadskater's picture

Roller Derby Lite Thoughts

Yes this is a cool idea to create a way for women to come out and enjoy the work and buzz of roller derby training minus some of the heavy contact. This was a pretty good piece of marketing with the website. Eebee also showed me a video...


The interviewer does a good job remaining undefined but acting as if an outsider trying it out, as in unreality shows and unnewscasts do. I'm guessing one of the bunch who does some PR (press relations, not personal records). Good stuff for skating. Maybe this can catch on with another group of women around the country. I hope so. Inline skating has a lot to offer, and those exercises they were doing have a lot to offer to inline skaters.

I wonder if there are any men's roller derby leagues and how intense their bouts might be? I guess that's called hockey. 

timv's picture

In Milwaukee

They have men's roller derby in Milwaukee now:

Interest in women's roller derby across the country has surged in the past five years - the Brewcity Bruisers outgrew their competition space at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin and will play all their home season bouts starting Jan. 8 at the U.S. Cellular Arena - but men's teams are a newer grass-roots phenomenon.

From New York to Minneapolis to Seattle, men's derby is carefully but assertively carving out space for itself in a sport originally envisioned for women. In many cases, the skaters are the friends, boyfriends and husbands of roller derby women, men who want their own rough-and-tumble flat track experience.

And Milwaukee's had a 400m indoor ice oval for a while now. I don't recall ever seeing you down a beer, but that might be the place for you anyway. <g>

roadskater's picture

Just Saw an Independent Lens Film on Men's Synchronized Swimming

If roller ever wants to get into the Olympics, synchronized roller derby might be the ticket! :o) Seriously, it's the aggressive crash dramatic forms of sport that have progressed, along with the stripper-like rhytmic and the syncrhonized forms. No that's not fair. It's just how I felt then. Oh how I'd love to see a 42k or 100k roadskate in the Olympics (and how easy for them to fold this into their cycling and running courses without building venues), plus short track and (just a dream) long track roller inline. Arrgh. 

Anyway, back to men's roller derby. I'm not so interested in that for me, but think there are some out there who'd be set for it and good at it. Not to equate them, but I just saw a film on Independent Lens about a, or rather, the men's synchronized swimming from Sweden. It was very interesting to see these guys dealing with practice time and performances, their private lives vs. dedication or lack thereof to their team and sport, and the "costs" and "benefits" of the whole enterprise. It was awesome when they showed up at the first world cup and looked at the teams from other nations...such diversity of approach and team membership. Herewith I present some video clips in an order I believe to be good... 

trailer (not bad at all)


so called clip 3


so called clip 2


so called clip 1


There's a lot in there about passing 40 years old and also much about art, music, business, family, of course. One quotation:

Stockholm Art Swim Gents is a protest against the meaninglessness of life, the strange meaninglessness that you start to feel in mid-life...when everything starts to slow down.

I don't know about slowing down but I do know that one can look for a new medium without the baggage of previous creative outlets. Say, one might seek healing in creating, but find that words and musical notes are locked up, and maybe roadskating and photography are things new and innocent of expectation...for a while. Later, perhaps the words and music can live again and the roadskating and photography share that space in a dance of rotational focus shifting. Just a random example, perhaps. 

Oh, and what about the whole gender specific sports thing (not to mention jersey color sensitivity among boys and girls of all ages), there's a nice little discussion in response to the question (in Milano, on the radio), "Why you don't play football twice a weekah...." One swimmer said "any sport is for homosexuals and any sport is for heterosexuals," and the other swimmer said that the idea that a sport that one does reveals one's sexuality says more about the society than the individuals. [This parallels a quotation I heard on the radio one time from female priests in reply to the statement that the pope doesn't recognize the validity of female priests (or similar), to which the female priest said, "we think that says more about the pope than the female priests." I offer this without condemnation of the pope or any priests, as "vengeance is not mine," saith the skater.]

A 400m track sounds awesome. I'd like one for winter and for summer dedicated to skating but allowing others of course who realize we just tolerate them, ha! I had a daydream (often) of the old Sears warehouse being turned into a multilevel multisport interwoven palace of physical exercise, with separate tracks on the level and separate multilevel routes for various sports. How cool would it be to have several flat tracks but also routes that involve climbing and desending, all indoors with full spectrum lighting, Cafe Bustelo, free wi-fi, international food vendors, and cots for naps after a long session of skating and webbing?

timv's picture

Second Best

I gather that there's a long list of sports clamoring to be added to the Olympic Games, and many that are now part of it fighting like the devil to remain in it. But it's a great big TV show now, like it or not, with countless billions of dollars riding on it. Other than a few indispensables like the marathon, events are dictated by what packages well between commercials, looks good on television, and will draw a large world-wide audience. As much like X Games events as possible, I think, as short and spectacular as they can be.

one can look for a new medium without the baggage of previous creative outlets

Maybe you'll remember this one:

   Tell the truth, explain to me, how you got this need for speed
   She laughed and said, "It might just be the next best thing to love."
   Hope is gone and she confessed that when you lay your dream to rest
   You can get what's second best but it's hard to get enough

With respect to skating and the Olympics, I was going to go for the now much overused reference to "Money Changes Everything." And my first guess was that Prince wrote it for Cyndi. (No, that was "When U Were Mine.") Or, if not him then it was one of the guys from The Hooters. (No, "Time After Time" and several others.) Turns out she co-wrote it with a guy named Tom Gray, at the time the frontman of The Brains, a new wave band that folks were expecting really big things from.

I didn't know anything about him, then or now, but Gray is based in Atlanta lately, has a band called Delta Moon, and he's become a rootsy bluesy slide guitar player. But isn't everyone doing that these days?

Great Q&A from a recent Tom Gray interview about the fate of his earlier band:

What’s a big lesson you learned from your major label days on Mercury Records?
When we signed to the label, we had an A&R person who signed who was very much behind the band, the president of the label was very much behind the band, and we went into the studio to record with Steve Lillywhite producing…

And by the time we finished, everyone at the label was gone. Phillips had bought Polygram, and Mercury got folded into Polygram. They fired everyone from the president to the receptionist. All brand new people and nobody knew who we were. Steve told me it was the first time he’d ever made a record and nobody from the label even bothered to come by the studio.

Steve had worked with The Stones by then, right?
Yeah, he had done a Stones record. At the time he came to us he had just done a Peter Gabriel record. After he did our first album, he said, “I’m going to work with a bunch of kids from Ireland, a band called U2.” They were all 17-years-old. That was 1980.

roadskater's picture

Oft Overused, Oft Misquoted, Oft Malattributed, Prince 7:1

OK I must admit I've been wandering around repeatedly overusing the references to Prince chapter 7, verse 1, money changes everything. It's almost as good as "follow the money," from the gospel according to Woodward and Bernstein. Glad you looked it up and we can credit Tom Gray, the one of the Brains, neither the bluegrass veteran, nor the Seagrove potter.

The David Wilcox lines are among his best. And I may have gotten my idea of the lure of skating from that expression when saying skating is the love we'd been missing. Wilcox had a couple of really good albums. I haven't listened for him to come by lately. 

I hope someone establishes the Foundation for Free Music Performance Tickets. I don't look up shows much lately because the price went higher than I perceived it to be worth, in general. Perhaps standup bar shows are still worthy.

roadskater's picture

Documentary "Men Who Swim" on WUNC-TV Fri Jan 7 2am

Set your programming devices or reminder alarms or whatever, but "Men Who Swim" will be on in North Carolina at least once (more), if TitanTV.com listings are correct:

Independent Lens
UNC-TV - 4.1 - Fri, 1/07, 2:00 AM 1 hr

"Men Who Swim"
Repeat, 1/04/2011, Anthology, Film, Variety
Train engineers, archivists, teachers and other middle-aged men are profiled for their success as members of Sweden's all-male synchronized swimming team, as they describe how they found inspiration in Esther Williams and her techniques.
Credits: Maggie Gyllenhaal (Host)

timv's picture

The Swedish Thing

Just watched the three clips... Gotta love the overlay of Swedish existential angst!

It's not enough not to say that it's fun and/or a great workout and/or an outlet for artistic expression. No, as you quoted, male synchronized swimming must be "a protest against the meaninglessness of life."

But I haven't yet "mastered all the Slavic languages," so maybe I'll leave it for later.

eebee's picture

Branagh's Wallander Ringtone for Fake-Swedish Existential Angst

Recently I found solace in Georgia Public Television's airings of the BBC's Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh. His character, Swedish murder-mystery novel hero Kurt Wallander's bleak cellphone ringtone immediately brought a smile to my face and I knew I had to have it. I found it on Phonezoo.com (for free).

While watching the program I wondered if these depressing chirps came with a popular European type of cell phone, but while searching for the download I discovered that Left Bank Pictures commissioned sound & dubbing professional Lee Crichlow specifically to come up with something unique, because:

The company not only wanted to avoid paying any royalties to an existing company or composer but it was also keen, according to the spokesman, "to create something distinct and alien. British audiences should feel the drama is unfolding in a foreign land, even though they are all talking English. Stylistically, it was important people didn't recognise it."

 Distinct and alien, yes, but also defeatedly simple, to paraphrase this Telegraph article explaining Wallander-ringtone mania.

My search also yielded articles attempting to explain the series' popularity among aging British women (*cough*). I can't find it now but the one I read generously profiled such women as enjoying the challenge of the mystery. However, I think it has more to do with so many of us having been painfully gullible in our youth - something we delight in having traded in somewhere during the transition from spring chicken to old boot - and no-one's gonna pull the wool over our eyes any more. But some probably just have it bad for Kenneth Branagh. As for me, I couldn't care less whodunnit, but I do revel in seeing someone else in a job rut, home-life a shambles, where the hero is not quite able to outrun his demons or say something witty to someone's face at the opportune moment. 

Branagh never really stood out to me as an exceptional actor until I saw him in the Wallander series. The scene where he hears of his Father's death is so powerful simply because of how he played it.  

Youtube has some Wallander clips set to Smiths music, notably 'Unlovable'


and 'How Soon is Now?',


of course. Not necessarily interesting, but mirthful given all characters involved.

You're gonna need to hear Foggy Mountain Breakdown or Al Hirt's Java after those two, though :-D

eebee's picture

Levitz Meanings Closet!

I started thinking about the Swedish language nuance behind their term for the meaninglessness of life, so I found where the guy says it on the clip (55 secs into this one). Trying to give them the benefit of the doubt I wondered whether it translated to something more akin to 'happiness', since that's what they are ultimately talking about here, rather than agonizing over whether their lives are meaningful or not.

I attempted to spell it (livets meningslöshet) based on some distant Swedish lessons I took at Oglethorpe University back in my dark days of immigrant culture shock. I butchered it. Google pops up - "did you mean: levitz meanings closet?"

roadskater's picture

It's Dark in There

I don't know about meaninglessness, but it's probably dark in there, with all those meanings lying around unorganized, unless it's a walk-in levitz meanings closet. 

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