UK Roller Derby… Beyond the Valley of the Rollerdolls

uk roller derby


With over 80 UK teams, roller derby has been evolving since the 1930s. The latest change could involve the dropping of fantastical derby names…

Born in America in the 30s as a competitive speed skating event, roller derby has got a wealth of history behind it. It was reborn in the 70s with rules and scoring strategies then transformed once again in 2001 into the sport we know and love today. Since then roller derby is frequently referred to as the ‘fastest growing sport in the UK’ and with good reason. There are now over 80 roller derby teams in the UK alone. You may already even be in one of them…

Roller derby is an often misunderstood sport. People assume that because of the outfits some wear when we bout (otherwise known as ‘Bout-Fits’) and the skater names, roller derby is entertainment and nothing more. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes skill, agility, power, strength and stamina. Live events have enthusiasts of other sports getting caught up in the skill and drama of it all. I defy you to watch roller derby live and then tell me it’s not a sport. The athleticism of the women (and men) who play this wonderful sport is often overlooked.

There has been a lot of talk recently within the roller derby community about skaters choosing to skate under their real names, the idea being that by skating under our real names we’d be more ‘professional’ and more likely to be taken seriously as a sport. While I support a skater’s choice to skate under any name she pleases, I don’t think we should feel a need to conform to what someone else’s idea of what a professional sport is. For me, choosing your skate name is part of the fun of roller derby; it’s part of what makes roller derby different from other sports (except for, perhaps, wrestling-related ones).

lead jammer magazine

Presenting the deadly, the delicious, the indefatigable… Moxie McMurder

Roller derby is a sport, yes, but it’s the most rock ‘n’ roll sport there is. It’s full contact, it’s not for the faint of heart and it’s fast becoming not only a sport but a community, and a diverse one at that.

It doesn’t matter that you’ve never skated before – your team will teach you. Mookychick’s roller derby tips are just the start of it. It’s up to you how deeply you want or have time to get involved, but it’s such a rewarding sport that quite a few partners have had to adjust to becoming roller derby widows. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never played ANY sports before, because derby isn’t like those other sports you’ve never played.

It doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, how much you weigh or how you look… there is a role in the team for everyone. Even if you don’t want to skate but still want to be involved there are NSO (non skating official) roles.

So what are you waiting for? Find your local team (believe me, you have one) and kick some ass!