Roller skates and heartbreaks 

Atlanta Rollergirls

Women and police are my only fears. As much as my mouth gets away from me, I've only been beaten up once. And it was by a girl.

I'm at the season opener for the Atlanta Rollergirls inside their new home, Yaarab Shrine Center on Ponce de Leon Avenue. The sold-out crowd is a nice mix of rockabillies and baby strollers.

Some of the Rollergirls are bruisers, some are cuties with bruises. But they're all interesting. Like Jo from "Facts of Life," they look like they could fix your transmission and break your heart; all while looking dynamite in a prom dress.

Keeping with the '70s tradition of showmanship set by the original derby ladies, most of their names are quite clever. A personal favorite is Sk8 Outta Compton. Somewhere Eazy-E is smiling. I think my roller persona would be a timid skater with a speech impediment. "The Wheel Deal" is what they'd call me.

I'm not sure what awards are handed out at season's end, but one thing shouldn't go unnoticed. I nominate referee Viva Hate for Most Outstanding Booty. "Scientists could use it to calibrate instruments," derby regular Clay Ivey says, commenting on the perfection of Ms. Hate's asset.

One team wins, one team doesn't. The rules and points are really inconsequential to me. I'm just enjoying the spills these girls take and how well they take them.

After drinking our last BYOBs, my buddy and I decide to skip the second half of the double-header and roll to the afterparty at P'cheen in Old Fourth Ward. I soon realize "P'cheen" must be French for overpriced well drinks.

After hitting on a lesbian (at least that's what she told me), it's time to call it a night. I get out easy. The only thing bruised is my confidence after talking to a girl who claims to like other girls more than me.

If you just act right, the police will leave you alone. Girls are a bit trickier. Just seeing the feisty Rollergirls reminded me of the one who roughed me up on the dance floor at MJQ not so long ago. Maybe with skates, league regulations and protective padding I would've had a fighting chance.

Or maybe I just need to learn to be nicer to the ladies, no matter how tough they might be.

Atlanta Rollergirls duel the second Saturday of every month through August, and Sept. 20. $6-$13. Yaarab Shrine Center, 400 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-872-5818. www.atlantarollergirls.com.

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