How to survive becoming a rollergirl
Skating, bonding, bruising and badass fashion are all part of what it means to be a rollergirl, and it’s an obssession you pay for… in sweat. Read Hope ‘n’ Gory’s 10 top tips for surviving a crash-course in becoming a rollergirl!
1. Dealing with your obssession and what you can do about it
In short? Nothing. After a single practice you’ll experience a strong desire to spend hours online watching Roller Derby footage and drooling over skates, accompanied by a feverish search for a skater name and an ongoing headache for your poor family. It’s only natural to become completely and absolutely addicted to a sport where you can beat up on other women whilst dolled up in fishnets and make-up! Don’t panic and don’t attempt cold turkey… this is possibly the one time that it’s good to embrace your addiction. It’ll be the passion that gets you to your feet after every fall, it’ll be the driving force behind your body blows and it’ll help you to kick ass!
2. Say hello to a new you!
One of the weirdest and best things about Roller Derby is that you get to create an entire new name (for example, in our league we have Ouija Broad, Daisy Pain, Block E. Horror and Gun Beryl to name a few) and persona.
Imagine the girl you’ve always wanted to be, the things you’ve always wanted to say and the fights you’ve always wanted to start… and as a rollergirl you can be each and every one of those things. It exonerates you from your dirty tricks on the track, and means that even the nice girls can talk tough and play rough.
Make friends with your roller-you… she’ll teach you things about yourself that you never thought possible!
3. What happens on the track stays on the track
Sure, cheating happens, as do temper tantrums, punch-ups and dog piles. When emotions are running high and body blows are being handed out like candy it can be easy to get dragged into a fight… sometimes literally. The important thing to remember when you’re throttling someone with her helmet strap is that when you hit the bar after a brawl all the bad behaviour is forgotten. Blaming it on your Roller Derby persona is always the best idea… after all she’s a crazy bytch and you’re just here for a quiet drink!
4. One girl’s bruise is a roller girl’s trophy
No matter what your position in the pack you’re going to be hit. Hard. If you’re anything like the rest of us you’re going to want to hit back too. Harder! Bruises, cuts and grazes are common and (be it unhealthy or not) are revered by Rollergirls the world over. They may look unsightly and strangers may begin to think you’re the victim of domestic abuse, but in the right circles they’re an indication of how much sh*t you can take. This really is rolling with the punches!
5. Knee-pads are a rollergirl’s best friend
They make you stinky, knock-kneed and give you a rubber-related speech impediment, but padding, helmets and gum shields are important when one of your tactics is to knock people out of your way… usually to the ground. They give you the confidence to skate harder and faster, safe in the knowledge that you can fall without getting hurt and dive into a dog-pile without losing any teeth!
6. L’eau de Derby… aka, leave your self-respect at the changing room door
There’s no use prettying it up… we skate hard, we sweat hard and we smell. Bad. Body spray does a little for the odour, but it’s going to do nothing for the bombsite that used to be your hair and make-up. Being a rollergirl is all about sucking it up, accepting that you’re beautiful and sexy, and hitting the bar with your team mates in spite of helmet hair and sweat-stained knees!
7. Ruffled pants on standby
The tactical weapons in a rollergirl’s fashion arsenal can be different for each girl, but tend to focus around leg and booty wear. You’re practically guaranteed fantastic thighs and a pert bottom so why not show them off with a Guinness-book-worthy amount of tights, fishnets, stockings, stripy socks and mini-mini-skirts and shorts? Flashing your ass is also a certainty in Roller Derby so ruffled, frilly, or printed-on knickers are also a must-have. If you’re going to fall down and give the audience a thrill then you need good butt-coverage and a novelty slogan never fails to amuse!
8. ‘No, there is no ball’ and the art of explanation
At the moment only a handful of people in the UK have heard about Roller Derby, and a rollergirl can find herself explaining it a hell of a lot! It can be frustrating when you’re asked the same question over and over again (where’s the ball?!) but it’s all about spreading the love and getting even more people addicted to this amazing sport. On the up side too, there’ll always be someone to listen to you prattle on about Derby long after your family and friends have tired of it!
9. Skating’s only half the story
Boy, do we love to skate, and we’ll do anything for extra time in our favourite shoes including organising fundraisers to drum up some much needed money for the league. As a rollergirl you need to be prepared to pitch in and do your bit for the league, be it handing out flyers on skates, packing bags in a supermarket, or luring people into a rollergirl carwash. While we work hard promoting our league we also make sure we plan as many social events as we do fundraisers, and to usually it’s hard to discern between the two!
10. Sympathy for the Roller Derby widow
You’ve got to feel sorry for your other half as you make your first teetering rolling steps on the path to becoming a rollergirl. Not only will they lose you to skating, but they’ll most likely have lost all access to the Internet when you’re at home too! The only solution is to buy them skates, drag them to practice (literally in some cases) and ask them to ref. If skating doesn’t hook them then supreme power over Rollergirls will!