So you wanna be a rollergirl? If you’ve watched Whip It and want to wear cute boutfits…then perhaps it’s a great costume idea for next Halloween. Now, if you’ve just watched your first bout, screamed your throat raw, developed your first derby crush on a Slamazon, and can’t wait to get in on the action…let me show you my friend’s “wall of pain,” a photo gallery of nauseatingly awesome hematomas and rink rash. Because behind the glam and sparkle, roller derby is hard-hitting athleticism at its best. Third-wave feminists can embrace their aggressive side while simultaneously feeling feminine in fishnets.
Here’s what roller derby is and what it isn’t. Don’t be fooled by the movies; derby is a real sport with rules and referees. You can’t punch each other in the face. Some of the most incredible shows of athleticism and grace are out there on the track. It’s speed skating, stamina, and blunt force trauma—plain and simple.
Still here? So you’re not a sissy. You can play with the big girls. But can your friends and family live without you for a minimum of 3-5 nights per week? Derby leagues are run by the skaters for the skaters. (Actually, it’s more like by the skaters, coaches, officials, medics, announcers, photographers, sponsors, and other generous volunteers.) D.I.Y. means not only a time commitment for practice but also bouts, committee meetings, fundraisers, community service, and more. My husband calls himself a derby widow, but he knew what it meant when I laced up my skates for bootcamp.
Be prepared to fall…not just on your tailbone, hips, and knees…but madly in love with this sport. I warn you, it can consume the best of us. You’ll be trying to “find the hole” as you dodge traffic on the freeway. You’ll be doing squats as you brush your teeth to achieve the lowest derby stance. And you’ll be having sweet dreams of grand slams and unicorns (25-point jams).
If you think you’ve got what it takes, shoot us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to get invited to our next bootcamp, which starts April 18th and come check out one of our bouts.