I’m sure other skaters have had the experience: you tell an acquaintance that you play roller derby, and the look in their eyes means you might as well have told them that you’re really into S & M, or that you worship the devil: it’s a blend of bewilderment, suspicion, curiosity, and a little bit of fear: who is this person? She seemed like such a nice, normal girl…Now they will think of you as the chick who gets off on repeatedly slamming her body into other girls with the goal of destruction. On the plus side, they probably won’t take any more office supplies off your desk.
Some people still question the verity of roller derby. As a lifelong athlete I feel no need to make an argument that roller derby is a sport: if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here. I understand that back in the day roller derby was more of a spectacle in the vein of professional wrestling–but looking at WFTDA leagues and aspirers like us, you’ll see we’re playing a rough and tough but rule-bound sport. I like to tell people that roller derby is kind of like football, but with less padding and a concrete floor–that usually gets the message out that despite the fishnets and the lipstick, we ain’t messin’ around. The physical demands are as intense as any sport I’ve played, if not moreso. The variety of skills you must learn is as challenging as other of life’s pleasures, like statistics and laproscopic surgery. In derby, you must maximize your endurance, balance, strength, agility, durability, and resilience. Especially resilience: there is no doubt that at some point, you will get beat down, and you have got to get back on your skates as soon as humanly possible–whether that’s in 3 seconds or after surgery and six months of recovery. That’s the steel will of a derby girl.
And here, with the Hall of Pain, we will present you with an ongoing gallery of SVRG’s bruises and breaks, sprains and strains, separations and dislocations. We want you to know that our injuries are real, and that these the risks we undertake for the love of our sport. Here are a couple of our recent spills and the aftermath. Enjoy!