Chances are you’ve heard about roller derby. Maybe your mom used to play, or perhaps you have watched the movie Whip It, or maybe you’re a die-hard fan of the DC Rollergirls. No matter what you know about it, I’m here to share the love. You see, as I sit here watching derby footage, covered in bruises, waiting for my girlfriend to get home from her travel team bouts in Texas, I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve been in years. And I think derby can do the same for you.
Here’s a countdown of the top 10 reasons to get excited about roller derby.
Looking for a unique date that will say more about you than “dinner and a movie”? Roller derby is a great opportunity to get to know a new crush. Learn the rules together, get involved in some of the half-time games, and discuss your favorite derby names. Going to a derby event gives you more to talk about and more time to learn about each other. And, if you’re past the dating phase and settled down with your honey and maybe even kids, derby is great family fun.
We’re women, we’re strong, and we’re jaw-droppingly awesome. Female athletes don’t often get the love or visibility that they deserve. The more we band together and support each other, the better!
This wouldn’t be a derby list without a little (or a lot of) fun. After all, work hard and play hard, right? Once the games are over, the fun often continues, giving you an opportunity to hang out with the women you just saw compete. What better way to get to know the derby community than with the help of a little liquid lubrication and chicken wings?
One of my favorite things about roller derby is that the athletes give back. A few years ago when I was on the Capital Queer Prom committee, I approached the DC Rollergirls about hosting a raffle to support the Wanda Alston House. Not only did they allow us to fundraise at a double-header (that’s sports talk for two games in one day), they even donated items to our raffle!
Looking to meet a rad group of people who will accept you for who you are and push you to be better every single day? Well multiply that by 100 and you have your roller derby community. From the bench, to the bleachers, to the track, everyone in derby is valued and loved.
Being part of roller derby isn’t just about getting on the track. There are so many ways to get involved. Do you want to be a fan? THANK YOU! Do you want to ref? THANK YOU! Do you want to be a non-skating official? THANK YOU! Do you want to volunteer? THANK YOU! Joining the derby community isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing; it’s an all-sizes-fit kind of thing.
The roller derby community is for EVERYONE. I mean that. Gay? Straight? Male (yep, check out MRDA)? Everyone is welcome. In my short time on wheels, I’ve skated with people from all walks of life and it’s one of my favorite things about the sport. Did I mention that WFTDA (the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) updated their policy in 2011 to be inclusive of trans women? #winning
I’m not kidding. Those amazing girls you see on the track? They started somewhere too, and many of them had little to no experience on skates. I’m currently going through derby boot camp and hoping to become a DC Rollergirl. In the last few months, I’ve blown my own mind with what I’m capable of doing. The high you get every week from doing something you could not do the week before cannot be explained in words. Derby is most definitely about the journey, not the destination. I challenge any of you to not have fun on skates. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible.
Derby isn’t a show, and it isn’t a performance. Flat track derby is a real sport with rules and incredible athleticism. And it’s not as underground as you may think. There are currently 259 WFTDA leagues worldwide. There’s even a Roller Derby World Cup where countries gather to compete, showing off their cream of the crop.
YUP! Later this summer the travel team will be heading to the D2 Playoffs to compete and represent our city. These girls are the best of the best and have worked incredibly hard this season. What better way to support your local derby team than to cheer them on at the playoffs?
Already love derby? What’s your favorite thing about the sport?