When not doing something crafty, I’m probably doing DERBY!
When most people think roller derby, they think of the theatrical 70s style banked-track version. Today, flat track derby is the fastest growing sport in America, and is governed by a national body, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. According to the WFTDA:
The roller derby you may have watched in the 70s and early 80s was often scripted and rehearsed. The roller derby of today is real and is thought of as more of a sport than a spectacle. The skaters involved are athletes and take the sport very seriously. They train hard every week and wear their bruises and scars with pride. One reason there are so many referees rolling around is to enforce the rules, which are in place to protect athletes’ safety and preserve fairness. Among other things, skaters are not allowed to elbow, punch, grab, head butt, trip, or shove the opposing team. There are still plenty of hard hits, hard falls, and fast action.
Here’s a short video made by the Hammer City Roller Girls that quickly explains the basics of modern flat track roller derby.
I skate with the Sick Town Derby Dames. Our league began in July of 2008, and I have been skating with them since (roughly) the beginning of 2009. When our league began, there were only 3 of us who knew how to skate derby. It took months of long hours of exhausting practices to get our skills ready for bouting. In 2010, we created our travel team, the S*M*A*S*H Unit, which is made up of our league’s 14 best skaters. We take on teams from all over the Pacific Northwest.
In June 2012, the Sick Town Derby Dames were accepted into the WFTDA as a full member league. We are assigned to the highly competitive West Region; this means that we’ll be competing for ranking with leagues in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, Idaho, Alaska, western Canada and even Australia!
If you haven’t seen a roller derby bout in the last decade or so, I highly recommend it. The skaters will never cease to amaze you with their athleticism, tenacity, and sheer strength. You can find leagues worldwide by checking the Worldwide Derby Roster. If you can’t make it to a live bout, check out the Derby News Network. This site streams live bouts and allows access to excellent derby footage.