The announcer formally known as Horatio Pain:
Many of you may be wondering why and how I became an infamous roller derby announcer. My origin story is not unlike most others… as a small child I witnessed a tragedy that unleashed in me the need to destroy evil and avenge…oh wait… that is my other alter ego. Please ignore that previous statement.
My most early recollection of roller derby was hearing the hushed whispers among my wife’s family that a dear family friend was a referee for roller derby. I put a pin in that and moved on with my life because I was sure that roller derby wasn’t real.
My next encounter with roller derby was the movie “whip it”. At this point it becomes necessary to point out that I loathe chick flicks…. Oh how I loathe them…To truly express my opinions of chick flicks would take too long and would be filled with the vilest of profanity so I will spare you. Where was I? Oh yeah, in a preemptive strike, I decide to rent the movie “whip it” thus not allowing my wife the opportunity to rent what I call a “level three chick flick”. I had witnessed commercials for this movie on a plane trip to an undisclosed location for an undisclosed reason and it seemed harmless enough. So we rent it and watch it, I will spare you my critique of all the non-roller derby aspects of the movie which were sub-par, but this roller derby idea was intriguing….Most intriguing
Another facet to my dynamic personality is that while I love movies I hate being ordinary and usual so the idea of another dinner and movie date with my wife is the last thing I want to do. But Batman says that it is important for couples to do things together. So trying to think outside of the box I remember how fun whip it made attending a roller derby game (which is actually called a bout) look. So I decided to see if there was a league in Utah. I found Wasatch roller derby on line. We tried to make it to a few bouts but things kept getting in the way. Finally I put my foot down and drew a line in the sand… it was now or never, you are either with me or against me. So we ditched a birthday party for one of our daughter’s friends and managed to show up just in time for half time.
It was all I could have hoped for, girls in fishnets skating at high speeds and hitting each other. The fabled roller derby referee my wife’s family had mentioned was even there and helped explain what I was seeing. Well of course my wife decides that she needs to post on Facebook about what a great husband I am and how awesome and creative I am. From that status we were eventually introduced to Natalie Swenson aka Raggs who eventually started the Happy Valley Derby Darlins.
I went with my wife to the very first meeting of what would become HVDD and right away it became tots obvi that this roller derby thing was going to take over my wife’s life. To avoid an “it’s me or derby” conversation I figured I should get involved. There were a few options before me; 1. I could be a referee or 2. a super fan….or though door 3 I could embrace my vanity and become an announcer.
1. Being a roller derby referee demands the individual possess the confidence of a lion tamer, the bravery and grace of a matador and the mental clarity of a cheetah. Oh yeah and you had to do this all whilst on roller skates. Clearly I met none of those qualities. “Next”
2. Super fan. The pressure to have the funniest sign in the crowd was too much for me. “No thank you!”
3. Announcer. Well you just have to speak good words in way to make people understand. Clearly a perfect match for such as I. “Ding ding ding we have a match”
I decided that the best way to support my wife while also doing the least amount of damage to the roller derby community at large would be as the world’s worst roller derby announcer rather than as the world’s worst roller derby referee.
The decision to be announcer also came with the significant responsibility of choosing a new derby name. After brief stints as the wildly inappropriate Mr. and/or Professor Snatch I eventually decided on Horatio Paine. This name is a play of the main character from the most realistic crime scene investigation show, and therefore the greatest show ever, CSI Miami’s Horatio Caine. I had earned the nick name Horatio at work from a game of two truths and a lie where everyone thought my lie…”My Middle name is Horatio” was the truth and that my 2 truths which revolved around how awesome I am, were the lies. :’( A few months later I find out there was already a Horatio Pain who was very active in the Derby community…So I decided that I needed to change my name. A few derby girls got together and decided since my skills as announcer are rather weak I needed a hook to really take it to the next level... which is level 1. It was decided for me that I needed to have a Boy Scout theme. So I changed my name to Ranger Zone which is also probably already taken. But that’s ok cause I have two more lined up…Maniac Mageek (Love it) and Hot Rod Lincoln (pretty good right)
Why I picked announcer and how no one saw the inevitable train wreck and demanding diva that I would be I will never know. Just a few of the reasons I should never be an announcer:
1. I am sure I have a pretty strong case of social anxiety.
2. I hate crowds.
3. I am painfully shy around new people which makes me come off as being a… um, well lets go with jerk.
4. I am funny only when I am quoting/stealing funny things other people have said.
5. I am the earth’s worst public speaker… that is not an exaggeration… literally the worst.
6. My brain works faster than my mouth and I always say the wrong things, Ie calling Star Trek, Star Wars.7. If ADHD is real which Tom Cruise says isn’t and he’s never lead me astray before, I would say I have that too. I have terrible short term memory so I am always forgetting who the jammer is or what I just said…These two things…kinda a big deal for an announcer to remember.
Luckily, I have great support in the Nerdery which is where the table of my nerdy friends sit and help me with jammer stats, the scoreboard and some are just there to remind me when I mess up so I don’t get a big head.
My secret fear is that one day all of the skaters will realize how terrible of an announcer I am and realize that almost anyone could do a better job than me and force me out. Then my real nightmare begins…. I will still have to go to bouts to support my wife, where not only will I have to listen to the crowd regale themselves with stories of how bad the previous announcer was, I will also have to witness another announcer who is superior to me. I will sit silently scowling when he announces things correctly or when the audience all laughs because the announcer is way more funny than I ever could be. Also, I don’t know a lot about roller derby traditions yet, but I think that the new announcer has to destroy the old one before they can take over.
But until that happens I am the official unofficial voice of the Happy Valley Derby Darlins. I hope to announce for them until I die young and pretty in an awesome blaze of glory.
Your Guide For life,
P.S. If you want to get involved in roller derby look up The Happy Valley Derby Darlins on facebook.
I have had this blog post ready for a while but wanted to do a Character sheet for my stats like dungeons and dragons but couldn’t get it done. So I did it without it.
The friend of my wife is none other than Phillip McCrevasse, whose knowledge of all things roller derby has been invaluable to me and my wife.
The plane trip I saw commercials for whip it on was on my way to and from New York for Thanksgiving where my awesome extended family played the most epic game of spoons. I wish I could say no one got hurt but that would be a lie.
I had a whole thing about beginning my announcing training and it was essentially how batman or a jedi is trained. Pretty funny but also rather long. So I will just thank Fragglepuss the Chaste from Wasatch for all his help.
My wife Danielle, is now Cookie the most bad A skater in the entire universe.
Examples of levels of chick flicks.
Level 1: Whip It
Level 2: Legally Blonde
Level 3: The Notebook
I cut out a Simpsons reference about the episode where Mr. Burns steals a trillion dollars and goes to Cuba which demonstrated how I called dibs on being announcer. Comedy gold but I couldn’t get it quite right so I deleted it.
I had a whole spiel about how as ardent anti feminist I first sought to destroy roller derby. Once I realized how funny I thought it was I realized that very few other people would and I could very well end up stabbed
I removed my diva demands as announcer because I was just stealing them from Wayne’s World.
Also, a big mushy thank you to Raggs for starting the league and all the girls who have stayed with the league. I could go on and on about how getting involved in roller derby has benefitted my life but you have to be involved to really get it. Thank you for letting me announce. I promise I am trying.
I am planning on starting a podcast to discuss how awesomer I am than you so get prepared for