Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Goddess of Strength in the Face of Adversity

Almost two years ago, I was attending a Minnesota Rollergirls bout at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. It was great to see them because their skills have only skyrocketed... actually, I think it was the end of season match, so it was a big show. Yeah, I remember, because I was unhappy about being stuck up in the balcony. I was isolated from all my friends (audience and team members alike), watching them mill about downstairs. I was also really upset about that dance team, something like "Cheer Dorothy Cheer" or something. Their sound was terrible, the dance routine was unskilled and uncoordinated, and the humor was gratuitous. I almost walked out due to this act alone, but I just kept slipping out to the bathroom and hitting my flask, and eventually the bout started.

Everyone was just a pile of warriors. Almost everyone. One person was no good and never would be any good, and her teammates had to suffer for it, but whatever. It's a difficult game! But it was an impressive match because all these athletes of advanced skill were fighting as hard as they could for the prize, and it was a real spectacle. No matter whom you were rooting for, you could not have gone home disappointed because the performance was that high.

Between matches, Team Slytherin... I mean, the Garda Belts were milling about, getting assembled. I don't know what their status is now but at the time they were viewed askance by polite society, I think. They were kind of rough and dirty, but even pro-wrestling cultivates its heels as well as its babyfaces. You've got to have an adversary, you can't just have four heroes who struggle against each other, there's no emotional investiture when that's the case.

So the Garda Belts were setting up or something, and the audience was booing them. They hadn't done anything wrong, they were just getting booed on principle. A couple of them made faces and flipped off the crowd, most ignored it, but one woman set herself apart.

She had short, blonde hair, I think it was pulled back in barettes. She had strong, dark features, and I think she was tall and the muscular side of lean. I dunno, I could be turning her into a deity in my mind. She just had this one moment that I won't forget. She had to skate over to the other side of the track for something, and the audience focused on her, increasing its booing and insults. I felt it was a bit much.

But she just straightened up, tilted her head back and smiled most winningly at the people. She threw her arms out wide and basked in all the noise coming at her, as she arced by slowly on one skate. The hatred increased, and she only glowed. It never phased her at all, not in the least way. There are other people who could've faked that kind of "I don't care" attitude but it wouldn't have felt like this. It would have seemed flimsy and a little annoying. There was a light burning inside of this woman and she was truly joyful in the moment.

I don't remember her nickname or her player number, but I will never forget her expression. It was one of those moments for me where my vision reduced to this one fragment of a scene and I probably forgot to breathe. Now it lives in my memory, and whenever I'm facing adversity or just having a crappy day, my mind pulls up this image and I feel embarrassed for my weakness. I modify my attitude and behavior to honor her memory. I have no idea who she is or what she's like in real life, but in the Tarot of my mind she is an icon of courage, confidence, and grace.

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