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The Reel World: Step outside your arena

I suggest you take a few steps outside your traditional sports arena. Take a seat and watch a few unique sports in venues that may have never crossed your radar. Read on for intriguing sports documentaries to get you started.

Queens of Pain

As a small child in Chicago, I remember watching (without my mom knowing) roller derby. I was secretly wishing I could grow up to be a Roller Derby Queen. Follow one of the world’s most renowned derby stars through her career in Queens of Pain. If you want to have an in-person experience, follow Topeka’s own Capital City Crushers and catch a competition. There is also a Junior Roller Derby if you have a youngster interested.

The 2010 fictional roller derby movie Whip It is also pretty entertaining.

Girls Can't Surf

Oh, to be on a beach enjoying the sun and water then look up and watch a surfer ride the wave to the shore. It is truly amazing to watch. Being in landlocked Kansas, I can grab a couple of our surfing DVD’s and be awed.

Girls Can’t Surf is about a group of women who take on the mostly male world of surfing in the '80s. "Like totally" big hair and neon colors aside, these woman can surf really well. Hang ten and watch how these surfers held their ground and caught the big one.

Unbreakable: The Western States 100

Running is the punishment coaches use when you mess up in practice and, aside from square dancing, the most hated exercise most of us remember from P.E. I absolutely abhorred running until I really gave it a try. It was a struggle, but I have seen the benefits – better overall cardio fitness and a great stress reliever.

Ultra-runners are an intense group of athletes who push themselves to run unbelievable distances. The 100 up to 200-mile races tax runners mentally and physically. Unbreakable follows a group of ultra-runners in their quest to finish Western States. They show how it not only takes physical stamina but mental stamina to continue to put one foot in front of the other. These athletes have relentless forward progress.

Ride Till I Die

Rodeos bring the old west to the present, showcasing the skills cowboys needed to work cattle. Along with Cheyenne, Wyoming; Winfield, Kansas is one of the first places to hold a rodeo in the United States. Of the many events, bull riding is my favorite. Like all sports, the activity takes a toll on the athlete. Ride Till I Die takes you on one rider’s journey through his career.

Next time you visit the library, amble toward the Sports Movies and you'll find more than 300 DVDs and Blu-rays. Find a new sport to watch or even a new athletic past time for yourself.

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