As the mom of three boys, I sometimes find myself needing a good dose of “girl time.” When I am up to my eyeballs in testosterone, I can look to my friends to help me out. Most of my best mama pals have a daughter or two, and I really enjoy hanging out with these little ladies in what I like to think of as “the fun aunt” kind of role. So this past Saturday, two of my best mom friends, their daughters and I, went on a little “girls only” outing. Tea party? No way. Nail salon? Nope. We ventured out to the roller derby!
We were not entirely sure how things would go. It was our first experience going to see the Texas Rollergirls. But it sounded extremely fun for us grownups, and we thought it might be a good time for the little girls, ages 5 and 7, as well. (Spoiler alert: the verdict was “awesome!”)
To maximize the adventure, we figured we’d take the Capital Metro Rail downtown. The metro rail runs directly to the Austin Convention Center, giving us such an easy route and avoiding any worries about parking. The girls LOVED taking the train. That part was a highlight of the trip. And on our wait for the train, we met the family of one of the team members of the Hotrod Honeys. Her parents, husband, and little girl (who looked about 4 years old) enthusiastically told us how much fun was in store. My little lady friends and I crammed ourselves into a row on the train together. The ride provided us the opportunity to catch up and chit chat. They wanted to take selfies and critique my lipstick. I learned that “rainbow” is a socially appropriate response to the question, “what’s your favorite color?”, but “all colors” is not an acceptable answer. I learned that fairies are, in fact, real. And just as I was about to try to really get to the bottom of what this Monster High dolls thing is all about, we were already arriving at the downtown station.
When we walked in, we were able to SAVE $5 on our tickets by showing our metro card (so entry was only $10). And tickets for kids ages 5 and under are FREE! After getting our tickets, the kids could pick up free thundersticks (those cheering bangers), free trading cards featuring rollergirls, and pose for pictures with life-sized cut-outs of derby team members. We were having fun before we even got inside.
Formed in 2003 as the only sports league of its kind, Texas Rollergirls started the Flat Track Derby movement, and there are now more than 300 Flat Track Derby leagues worldwide. Austin’s own Texas Rollergirls is composed of four home teams: Hell Marys, Hotrod Honeys, Honky Tonk Heartbreakers, and Hustlers. Regular season bouts are held at The Austin Convention Center, but the Texas Rollergirls also skate in exhibition games and interstate competitions.
Before we could settle into our seats to watch the 5:45pm bout, the girls were immediately drawn to the concessions. Southside Flying Pizza offered slices, sandwiches, and salads. But you could also count on standard sports arena fare such as popcorn, pretzels, and candy. There is also a full bar on site if the grownups need a beverage.
We then chose our seats, and picked our favorite rollergirls from the program. We talked about who has the best name, the toughest look, the most colorful hair. We watched the derby bout start with excitement, but the girls commented that it was slower than they expected. And the grownup gals agreed that it was far tamer than anticipated. After minutes, we knew for sure it was certainly appropriate for a PG audience. We saw tons of kids arrive. Babies in strollers and slings, etc. Grandmas, college dudes — people of all ages!
When we went down for a bathroom break, we ran into the dad we had met on the train who gave us the inside scoop that the kids might have more fun if we sat on the floor right by the track. So we moved our belongings (meaning our king-sized candy bars) down to the floor and immediately felt more energized being right up close to the action. We then took photos at the free photo booth (equipped with props), and after a short while we realized it was time to catch our train back home.
Overall, everyone in my group had a terrific time. When I asked the girls to tell me truthfully what they thought, I have to admit that the word “boring” did arise. But they also said that overall as an experience, it was really fun/super awesome! The mamas in my group noted how much more tame it was — which was the one question on our minds previously. (The only slightly inappropriate element was one of the cheer signs that read “Faster, faster, kill kill kill”, but it was waved around in a very comical tone). During each event at The Austin Convention Center there are two bouts. The first bout starts at 5:45pm, and we only stayed for this first one. I do not know if perhaps the second bout gets rowdier, but the first round was certainly family-friendly.
If my young friends were to invite me to a dainty princess tea party, I would be there with bells on. But truthfully, having a girls day out at roller derby was far more authentic and meaningful. We all felt the team spirit of these amazing, tough, rollerskating ladies. They were sporty and feminine and real-life examples of one of the many things “girly” can be.
Know before you go:
- Dates of bouts at the Convention Center: June 14, July 13, August 16, 2014
*There is also a public event on May 31st at their practice space. Details are on their website.
- There are two bouts, and the first one starts at 5:45pm
- General admission ticket prices:
- Kids ages 0-5: FREE
- Kids 6-12: $5
- Adults: $12 advance, $15 day-of at the door, or $10 day-of with a valid Capital Metro card
- No outside food or drink is allowed inside, and keep in mind that concessions can add up.
- Website for schedule and info: www.texasrollergirls.org
Free Fun in Austin has two pairs of premium tickets for the Texas Rollergirls bout on June 14, 2014 at the Austin Convention Center to give away!
For your chance to win, simply fill out the form below. By submitting the form, you are agreeing to the Sweepstakes Official Rules. Two winners will be selected using random.org on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 and notified by email. Each winner will receive one pair of tickets to the June 14, 2014 bout (each pair has a value of $50).
If you cannot see the form below, please visit the original post to enter.
Freelance web producer, Heidi Okla is mom to three boys (ages 4, 6, and 8), and can’t pass up any opportunity for fun family adventures. Heidi covers theatre, health and beauty topics on Austin’s LiveMom.com. And you can browse her literacy-focused kids activities on her blog, Read ‘Em and Leap.