New Sports Experience: Lacrosse & Roller Derby

6:27 PM
This is sooo not a cycling post…

The Spouse and I have gotten into the habit of getting each other events for birthday gifts.  It is nice to focus on new experiences rather than things, and we’ve stretched outside of our comfort zones into some new activities like going to the opera, catching an indy band in concert, and trying out rock climbing.  For the Spouse’s February birthday I actually had two ideas this year: going to see roller derby and going to a lacrosse game.

Why roller derby?  Why lacrosse?  Well, for the simple reason that we’ve never been to see either of them.  I think the Twin Cities is unique in that we have both a roller derby league (comprised of four skater-owned teams) and a professional lacrosse team (The Swarm).  Why not celebrate other ways to stay active?  (Yes, you can be active and not ride a bike…I know…it is strange…)

When I went to order tickets I searched for the Minnesota RollerGirls first.  I figured that the Spouse would prefer to watch athletic ladies with names like Venus Thightrap (go on the link) and Harmony Killerbruise (have to be from MN to get that one) mix it up on skates over a lacrosse match.  But the Fates were with me – a double header on Saturday night featuring a Swarm game followed by roller derby!  Double awesomeness!
So, after an early dinner at The Liffey the Spouse and I headed over to the Excel Energy Center for our introduction to two new sports.

My impressions of lacrosse?  Crazy!  Basically, it is like a warm version of hockey, but more ADHD, if you will.  It is the only professional sport I’ve seen where they play the music during the game, so you are constantly bombarded with snippets of songs by the likes of Gary Glitter, Queen, Green Day and John Denver (really).  There was a special dance everyone did when the Swarm scored a goal (set to a catchy tune, of course), and other fun traditions like yelling in unison, “TAKE A SEAT!” when an opposing player was sentenced to time in the penalty box...which happens with disturbing regularity.

And when things started to get a bit boring a fight would break out.  Yes, just like hockey, fights are part of the action with lacrosse.  While the Swarm appeared to win on the fight count (2 to 0, with both opposing players needing to go back to the locker room for treatment), unfortunately they lost the actual game by one point.  Lacrosse was fun to watch (we didn’t really need all of the distractions) – a ton of running, amazing throws of the ball with those funny net/sticks, and incredible feats of athleticism as the players were trying to score without entering the crease. 

But our night wasn’t done – after the game the staff quickly pulled back the turf to reveal the roller derby oval all ready to go.  Just like lacrosse, I’m sure I missed out on the finer points of roller derby, but basically you have a “jammer” who tries to break through the opposing “blockers” to become “lead jammer” and score points by circling around and breaking through the “blockers” again in a 2-minute jam (watch a cool animation of roller derby rules here.  Got it?

Nah, you don’t really need to – it was fun to just sit back and watch the action as the Minnesota All Stars took on the Old Capitol City Roller Girls from Iowa.  Roller derby is a sport for all women, of all shapes and sizes, who are drawn to a more rough and tumble form of play.  You’ve got strength, dexterity, showmanship, and a hefty dose of feminism.  Though we didn’t get the full MN RollerGirls experience (they are usually housed in Roy Wilkins Arena, where you are much more close to the action) we got enough to know we want tickets to their next bout.  

And it turns out they have clinics all spring for try-outs in the spring...roller derby anyone?

You Might Also Like