My Virgin Roller Derby Experience was on April 5, 2014, in Novi, Michigan. I loved the movie “Whip It”. In fact, Chuck was an extra in Whip It so he considered himself experienced with Roller Derby. Right, let’s just be clear, we were both roller derby virgins prior to the A2D2’s triple header season opener.
Tattoos and Derby Names
Not all the skaters have tattoos, but they all had “derby names”; their alternate personas for the rink. My favorites: ProPain Jane, Athenya Knocker, Lezzie Arnaz and Jodie Fister. I loved the names. I suspect this an artifact from the 1940’s when it was more an entertainment event than a sporting event. Today, Roller Derby is a sport. The skaters are confident athletes who know how to get up after they have been knocked on their butt.
Wikipedia provides the best description of derby names, “Creative examples of word play with satirical, mock-violent or sexual puns.” New players are encouraged to check an international roster of derby names before they claim their derby name. Holy Cow! I had no idea.
You can’t appreciate Roller Derby from the safety of your couch. To truly appreciate it you need to join other Roller Derby enthusiasts in track-side suicide seating. To say, “the sign was a little unnerving” was an understatement.
Rules and Chaos
The Bout! Jammers, Pivots, the Pack!
“Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track. Game play consists of a series of short matchups (“jams”) in which both teams designate a scoring player (the “jammer”) who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team.” (Per Wikipedia)
The chaos of the “Jam” is the beauty of the roller derby experience. The skaters play both offense and defense simultaneously. The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the opposing jammer.
The Jammers have “stars” on their helmets. They score points by legally passing opposing players.
The Pivots have a striped helmet cover. They direct their teammates on the strategy and speed during the “bout”.
“On the second pass through the pack, jammers earn a point for each skater of the opposing team the pass legally.” How the officials keep track of this is beyond me!
Take Home Message
You can’t help but notice women of all shapes, sizes and ages — tall, short, young, middle-age. All were tough, strong, and confident women who were enjoying the competition. We have lots of great pictures in our gallery, we hope you’ll check them out and maybe share them with your friends on Facebook or Pinterest.