National Book award-nominated American poet Gail Mazur wrote these words about ice skating, describing a girl on a frozen river with her father: “... they glide arm in arm onto the blurred surface together, braced like dancers. She thinks she’ll never be so happy, for who else will find her graceful, find her perfect, skate with her in circles outside the emptied rink forever?” In the poem, “Ice,” the girl and her dad are the last to unlace their skates and go home, out of a whole community enjoying the deep winter.
One could easily imagine that girl growing up always holding onto the feeling of that graceful gliding and, as many of us do as we try to match our workaday adulthood to the things we loved in innocence, strapping on a different kind of skate with a network of friends for something like Maine Roller Derby today. Well, whatever the reasons behind the MRD’s athletes’ grit and commitment, Portlanders get to enjoy the fruits of it at the Wicked vs. Good Bout featuring lady skaters, and the Casco Bay Gentlemen's Derby vs. Vermont’s Mean Mountain Boys in the men’s bout, the double-header starting at the Portland Expo (239 Park Ave) on Saturday, October 14 at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 11-15, and free for kids 10 and under, at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3099939.
If you’re the last one to leave, you might have just found a new lifelong athletic pursuit.