So, you witnessed your first roller derby bout or maybe you were fascinated by the movie Whip It! Well, whatever it was that sparked your interest, it's time for you to get off the sidelines and into some skates. Here's why you should give roller derby a try...
Long Story Short:
Roller derby is a full contact sport consisting of two teams of five - four blockers and one jammer. The jammer scores points by lapping the opposing team's blockers and the blockers try to prevent the opposing team's jammer from getting through.
You'll fit right in
While most sports require a certain physic, such as being tall for basketball, roller derby is inclusive of all shapes, sizes and ages. On the small side? Great for slipping through the pack. Got more to love? Amazing blocker. No matter what your body type, there's always a spot for you on a roller derby team.
You'll learn strategy
Roller derby is more than girls on skates knocking each other down. Since offense and defense are played at the same time, it takes strategic formations and plays in order to score points.
"Roller derby is 50% physical and 50% strategy. While a person is learning how to skate, they can also be learning the rule set, strategy, and other important concepts such as how to gauge 10 and 20 feet or 2 and 6 meters. Sometimes it’s actually better to learn high-level strategy without skates on, even for high-level skaters." - Smarty Pants Texas Executioners/Team USA/Getsmartycoaching
Get Great Exercise
Roller derby requires a lot of cardio and physical strength. Chances are you're going to be sore, but that's a good thing, right? Additionally, if you're looking to lose weight, this is a the sport for you. You can burn 450 calories or more in 30 minutes during a bout.
Noobs are welcome
If you're not in shape or you've never skated a day in your life, no biggie. Many teams offer "fresh meat" boot camps to get you ready to join a team. With enough hours, practice and coaching, you will quickly pick up on the rules and skills.
"For people who are non-athletic that want to join derby, I say, 'come on!' On Monday I gave a private lesson to a woman who has been skating for 3 weeks total. This is common for a person to go see a game, become intrigued by the sport, go buy gear and start! It’s how most of the founders of our sport started." - Smarty Pants, Texas Executioners/Team USA/Getsmartycoaching
Make Friends For Life
The teamwork required in roller derby is very conducive to creating genuine and long lasting friendships. The players are supportive of each other and they have fun together.
"We see many of our teammates more than we may see our own parents or siblings. They become a second family and the ones you count on to help you back up when you fall, encourage you to work hard and congratulate all your efforts regardless of the outcome." - Feta Sleeze, Detroit Derby Girls
Get a Cool Derby Name
One of the first initiations into roller derby is picking a bad ass derby name. They're funny, punny and sometimes raunchy. Derby names give you personality instead of just a number on a jersey. But make sure to pick a good one, because chances are people are going to know you better by your derby name than your actual name. Mouth Guardashian, Helen Killer and Katniss EverMean are some of my favorites.
Play Dressup with Boutfits
One of the funnest parts about roller derby is creating your boutfit (bout+outfit). You can mix and match naughty and nice to showcase your bubbly personality or scare off your opponents. If you ever go to a roller derby bout you will see all sorts of crazy-cool tights, booty shorts (called skinz), make up and fishnets.
Relax with 'me time'
Almost all roller derby players are volunteers who have busy lives with jobs and families. But when you get to the rink, you get two hours of uninterrupted, active fun. Plus, it's a contact sport so when you "block" other skaters it physically produces a response in your body that helps to relieve tension.
Roller derby is a fast growing international sport. If you're looking to get involved with a team in the US, check the WFTDA listings for your local team. Don't wait to join, get out there and DO IT!