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What is roller derby?

Roller derby began in the 30s in middle America and died off at the end of the 60s.  The modern resurgence of roller derby began in 2001 in Texas, where a group of women got together and decided to start their own all female, punk inspired, roller derby team.  They became the subject of a reality TV series “Rollergirls” and the rest is history.

With over 500 leagues worldwide, an international governing body (WFTDA), teams as far away as Hawaii and Switzerland and an annual convention in Las Vegas, roller derby is often referred to as “the fastest growing sport in North America.”

The basics of roller derby are pretty simple.  Its a full contact sport on roller skates (not blades) played predominantly by women.  You have two teams on the track (5 from each), one skater from each team has a star on their helmet, that’s the jammer.  She scores points by passing the hips of opposing players within the confines of the track.  In essence its a race with human obstacles.  There are no balls and no fighting.  The roller derby rulebook is extensive and the game is reffed by no less than 6 referees (and up to 20 officials).

Just search “roller derby” in youtube and you will find hundreds of videos of roller derby bouts (we call them bouts, not games), instructional videos and interviews with real roller derby girls.

What you will discover is that roller derby is more than a sport, its a lifestyle, a way of thinking, a family.  It includes women of all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.  It’s empowering and subversive at the same time.

There is probably a team in your area – so go check them out and see what you think.  You wont regret it.

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