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Unleash Your Inner Bad A** With Roller Derby

Fishnets, face paint and roller skates – these are the essentials of roller derby. All that and a fierce attitude as well. A sport invented in the depression, which peaked in the late 50s through the early 70s, is making a comeback at a roller rink near you.

This sport is not for the Xanadu set, but more the rough and tumble crowd since injuries are part of the games and fist fights are considered part of the fun. Theatrics are part of the strategy of winning and team cheers often include the words "blood" and "kill." The new wave of grass-roots, all-female leagues has become the rage and because it is grass roots players put in a lot of time for their leagues, not just in practicing their derby skills, but also organizing, managing and fund raising.

The organization, Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) established rules and protocol, as well as sets up intercity matches between the 48 existing leagues with dozens of teams in each league. There are teams all over the nation, and a few in Europe as well.

Interested to lean how to score at the derby, then


Matches are 60 minutes divided into periods. The periods are divided into jams that last up to two minutes. A jam works like this:

Five from each team crouch at the starting line — a pivot, three blockers, and a jammer, in that order — and they’re off. The jammers, wearing starred helmets, skate furiously, trying to fight their way past the blockers and the pivots. The first jammer who makes it past the pack is named lead jammer; she’ll be the only one to score points during this round (officially known as a jam). She scores by lapping her competitors, one point for each girl she passes.

Interested? Then it is good to know that at team tryouts, skaters are judged not on their physique, but on their ability, aggressiveness and attitude. Good skills to practice in your skates prior to auditioning are: skating at high speeds, dodging obstacles, and falling without injury. A catchy nickname can help get you noticed, but make sure your desired nickname is not already registered by some other derby queen here.

If you are looking for a league near you, check out the WFTDA listing of participating leagues. Sounds like a wicked good time and a great way to let off some steam. Plus the fashion is so excellently punk rock!


Join The Conversation
molly143 molly143 9 years
Roller derby is a BLAST, so all the haters get a big WHATEV! I'm super far from butch, and I loved derby. I helped get it started here in Alaska... unfortunately I don't play anymore, but I love the sport and it's a great way to keep in shape! :)
Nemesisb4 Nemesisb4 9 years
It's a lot of fun and it's for women of all sizes and you don't have to have any skate experience. I'm so bothered by people who knock it before even willing to look into it properly
Nemesisb4 Nemesisb4 9 years
Roller Derby is the best. I'm one of 4 girls who started our own league in Missouri. We are in our second season already! I unfortunately did get injured and now no longer skate but there is so much involved that you don't have to skate to be a part of this awesome bunch of hard core chicks
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
No thanks!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I had a friend at work that really liked Roller Derby and she was trying to get a team together. I would've joined, except that I cannot rollerskate to save my life. I would be trampled right away by everyone else. Not a fun time, IMHO.
emily-violet emily-violet 9 years
Hey Gablushka, I bet you're the pinnacle of class and decorum. With such incredibly insightful comments like that, how could you not be? Bravo!!!
onion-waffle onion-waffle 9 years
Heh, ur_momm, I hear ya! I'm a shorty, too. I'm strong...but man. Too many years doing modern dance with a lot of people in one room = I'm tired of getting bruises and running into people! I'll watch others do it, thank you!
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
not for me!
ur_momm ur_momm 9 years
i know a rollerderby girl aswell. just started up in Montreal a few years back... im a midget so i didnt really thing to join lol. but if i was bigger, id totally consider it.
onion-waffle onion-waffle 9 years
I have a friend on a derby team, and it was the best thing for her. The girls are actually very gracious in losing and winning, in my opinion, and I felt that all the teams had great respect for one another. However, this doesn't take away at all from the heat of the game! I used to watch the teams in the NY area, but now that I'm back in Cali, I guess it's up to Oakland, SF, and the San Jose teams. I really miss roller derby! Nothing matches the atmosphere. It's not snooty, mean, or bitchy in the least. It's just watching and cheering on your favorite team.
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Oh how classy! Women tackling each other and feeling proud of it. Sorry they all look butchy.
ovenmitt ovenmitt 9 years
heck yeah! rock out naptown roller girls!
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