Is that like WWF (wrestling) on roller skates? That’s the question I often get when I explain to people that I am part of a roller derby league. And the answer is, No….not really.
The history of roller derby (dating back to the 1920s) does indeed include a WWF’ish past (punching, kicking, etc), but in recent years the sport has grown in concept and popularity. The international governing body of the sport is WFTDA, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Yes, you read that right – international – as in there are leagues quickly growing world-wide. On their website (wfda.org), they provide a set of rules that takes away the “over-the-top” elements and lays out guidelines to keep the game safe for all who play, while still keeping the intensity. The game involves two teams, each with five players. The four girls from each team in the front are blockers. Starting behind the blockers are the jammers, and they are the players who score points for each opposing blocker they pass.
So, what does this new face of roller derby look like? CNN recently posted a story, Flat track contact on roller skates, which briefly covers the history and rising popularity of roller derby. Actress Drew Barrymore directed a movie titled Whip It, which tackled the subject. If you are looking for more of a documentary take on the subject, check out Blood on the Flat Track. Last, but not least, take a look at what’s going on in your own backyard here in Pennsylvania. While there are new leagues popping up every day, one that is close to my heart (as I am a referee for them) and less than an hour away from Bloomsburg is the Susquehanna Valley Derby Vixens of Williamsport, PA.
Come on down and see it in action on July 9th at “aBout Face”, an event happening at 6pm in the Pickelner Arena in Williamsport, PA. Be a part of one of the fastest growing sports in history!
For more information, check out the official site for the Susquehanna Valley Derby Vixens at svderbyvixens.com.