I tend to romanticize anything involving roller skates, so it may be premature to announce that I want to join a roller derby team. However, after reading about the revival of all-girl roller derby teams in my favorite feminist mags, I'm really interested in this sport.
Yep, you read correctly. I just said I was interested in a sport. I'll admit that roller derby could potentially hold as much interest as baseball does for me, and that is about ten minutes, but I'm optimistic. This could be my sport.
What is roller derby? Briefly, it's a contact sport based on formation skating around a track. Five players from each of two teams square off, with some players acting as blockers and one or two "jammers," who attempt to score points by skating through the pack. Created in the late 1930s, roller derby was most popular in the 1950s and '60s, eventuallly petering out for a few reasons in the early 1970s.
The "sport" aspect of roller derby was suspect, as people's appetite for violence and entertainment led to staged brawls. Showmanship definitely figured into the sport, which was the draw.
In the last few years, many all-girl roller derby leagues have popped up. They pay homage to the roller derby of yore—taking on on-track personalities and names, wearing creative (somewhat sexy) uniforms—but a punk rock DIY ethos prevails. The gals look punk rock—slashed fishnets, tattooes, goth-style makeup. But it's not just show; the women have self-organized the leagues and seem to hold tight to indie ideals. A rep from the Gotham Girls elaborates on their sketchy venue:"We would rather play in rinks like this and iron the letters on our uniforms ourselves than be plastered with Mountain Dew labels and have Coldplay songs in the background."
I googled and it appears there are no NE Ohio roller derby leagues, but there's one in Columbus. No doubt there'd be interest around here. The grassroots-style appeals to me, but also the sport. I enjoy rollerskating, and it would provide an outlet for aggression, which—you know—as a girl I just suppress. :)
I've never exactly been the rough and tumble type, though. Riding fast on the Ikea shopping carts is my idea of risky behavior. But I think I might want to try to be that badass roller derby girl. We'll see.