Roller derby empowers women

Photo courtesy of Rachel Moore, Unsplash

By Lily Angel

To celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s take a closer look at a predominantly female sport that often goes overlooked: roller derby.

Roller derby found its roots in the 1800s but was first seen as a sport in the 1930s. The game was created by Leo Seltzer during the Great Depression era. Despite being known as primarily a women’s sport, it was open to both men and women. Players raced around a circular track to score points by passing their opponents.

It was in the early 2000s that Roller Derby fully evolved into the sport that we know today. This evolution was led by the creation of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), which standardized the rules of the game and helped to increase its popularity.

Roller derby is a full-contact sport, meaning players often come into physical contact with one another. This has led to some criticism of the sport, with concerns about the level of violence involved. However, it’s important to note that there are strict rules governing contact in roller derby, and that players are required to wear protective gear such as helmets, mouthguards, and knee pads. In fact, safety is a top priority in the sport, with referees on hand to ensure that all players are following the rules and that matches are played safely and fairly.

Roller derby consists of two teams, each with ten members. Each team has one jammer, who wears a helmet cover with a star, and four blockers who try to prevent the opposing jammer from passing them while helping their own jammer get through. Once the jammer has passed the pack of blockers once, they start scoring points for each opposing player they pass.

One unique aspect of roller derby is the tradition of adopting creative and often punny names. These names are a way for players to showcase their personalities and add to the fun, theatrical aspect of the sport. Many players choose names that play off of pop culture references, while others opt for names that reflect their personalities or interests. The practice of adopting roller derby names has become a cherished tradition within the sport, adding to its overall sense of community and inclusivity.

In recent years, roller derby has gained popularity, with more teams and leagues popping up all around the world. One such league is the San Fernando Valley Roller Derby (SFV) in Los Angeles, California, which was founded in 2007 by Killo Kitty. The league is an all-female, skater-owned and operated organization that’s dedicated to promoting athleticism, empowerment, and sportsmanship in a safe and welcoming environment.

“The league promotes volunteerism and involvement within the community, while fostering professional development and growth in a supportive and collaborative environment,” Kitty wrote on the SFV Roller Derby website.

SFV is an all-female league that has seven teams: The Like OMGs, The Wipe Outs, The Fur Sures, The Reseda Wreckers, and etc. The league provides a platform for women to showcase their skills and passion for roller derby, and their games are open to the public. Fans can catch a home game at the SFV Roller Derby Track, located in The Lot in Sylmar. At these games, fans witness the athleticism, strategy, and camaraderie of roller derby firsthand.

Roller derby may not be as well-known as other sports, but it’s a sport that’s gaining traction and respect. It’s a sport that empowers women, promotes athleticism, and showcases the importance of teamwork.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper