Roller Boogie Tampa
A lot of you have written asking why I haven’t been blogging more lately. Here’s the reason: I am currently in Tampa, Florida for the World Roller Boogie Regional Qualifiers. A lot of people don’t know that I am a competitive roller boogiest, but I am, competing in both solo and team events. This is the first year that I’ve made the regional qualifiers and I AM SHITTING MYSELF!!! The top three from the regionals advance to the nationals, which is being held at the American Roller Boogie Capital – Venice, California, which was also the setting for “Roller Boogie” the movie. While I try to attend the nationals every year as a spectator, I have never been as a competitor and just the thought of going MAKES ME SHIT MYSELF!!!
For those of you don’t know about competitive roller boogie, here’s the way it works. For solo events, competitors have anywhere from three to five minutes to complete an original roller boogie set to the music of their choice. Most people choose disco or techno music, but I have become known in the roller boogie world for boogying to alternative country acts like Lucinda Williams. Within their set, each competitor must demonstrate proficiency in a range of skills: forwards skating, backwards skating, bending down skating, bending down skating with one leg forward, skating while clapping hands, and skating while shimmying. In addition to skill points, competitors also get points for artistic flair. This can mean anything from wearing very tight pants (as I plan on doing), to wowing the judges with a “Sparkle Wand,” which is a long iridescent want with streamers (which I also plan on doing). Scores range from 1-100. A typical winning score in the regionals is anywhere from 70-90. A perfect 100 in the regionals is almost unheard of, being attained only once by Larry “Crazy Wheels” Crenshaw in 1985. Crenshaw, incidentally is here. When I saw him, I SHIT MYSELF!!!
The team portion is similar to the solo but involves even longer songs (like stuff by ELO and Pink Floyd), and even more skill elements. Some of the skill elements in Two Person RB are: skating while holding hands, synchronous skating, synchronous skating while holding hands, and synchronous skating while holding hands in that fancy way with one hand in front of you and one behind – very tricky. Like in the solo events, team events are also awarded artistic points. Unlike the solo events, there is a third category, called “hotness.” Hotness points are highly subjective and are usually the subject of the most of the controversy in the RB world, as they are purely at the judge’s discretion and reflect how “hot” the judge believes the roller boogie couple to be. Most of you probably read about the controversy at the Worlds last year when the French judge was accused of accepting bribes after giving the reigning world champion team of Rodriguez & Velazquez (Spain) extremely low hotness points, despite the fact that they did simulated love making (missionary style) on the roller rink while also waving sparkle wands – a feat never before accomplished.
A subsequent investigation determined that the French judge was innocent of any wrongdoing, but it certainly cast a dark cloud over the hotness category and indeed, the whole sport. With so much cheating going on in sports these days, the last thing our sport needs is any additional controversy, particularly because some wealthy investors from Long Island are considering setting up a professional roller boogie league. When I heard that news, I SHIT MYSELF!!!
My partner in the team portion is a fabulous roller boogiest by the name of Kimberly DiLazzio. She started rollerblading at nine, but moved over to quad skating (which is the only kind allowed in competitive RB) at the age of thirteen, and she’s been competing in RB pretty much since then. Because she is still only sixteen her high school responsibilities prevent us from training as often as we would like, and so I have been pressuring to drop out of school so that she can devote herself to what she was meant to do. I have offered to open my home up to her as a “training center,” but her parents didn’t go for that. (Between you, me, and the lamp post, my wife wasn’t thrilled with the idea either.) Anyway, in addition to being one of the youngest competitors, she’s also definitely the youngest to master the tricky “he skates over the girl with his legs wide open and she pulls him through with her hands” skill element, which promises to be the “must have” skill for any serious competitors looking to win this thing in Tampa. In addition, she’s got a fabulous little ass, which should gather us a lot of hot points. The only question: will the discrepancy in our ages turn some of the judges off? For this reason, I am going to paint a lot of freckles on my face to make me look younger.
Anyway, as I said, the regional winners advance to the Nationals, and then the top two teams from the Nationals will represent our country in the Worlds, which are being held next year in Belgium. The Worlds only come around once every four years, so this could be my last shot. My only regret is that I didn’t have the time to train even harder than I did. Here in America, RB just isn’t taken as seriously as it is in some of the other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, where it flourished under communism, and has not lost any of its pre-eminence since then. In fact, aside from Rodriguez & Valezquez, the past ten champions have all come from that part of the world. But I can’t even worry about that right now. My job right now is to get ready for my solo event, which is starting in just under an hour. I need to stretch and finish Bedazzling my leotard, which is drying on the shower bar as I type. Wish me luck, everybody! Because I AM SHITTING MYSELF!!!