It’s a funny thing is roller derby. You can easily have lived your whole life having never heard of it, but, if you have heard of it, chances are you’re spotting it all over the place. It’s that rare thing of not being the women’s version of a man’s sport. It’s has always been a sport for women. It’s also one of the fastest growing women’s sport on the planet and there are. Every single one of those is amateur and self-organised. The are over 100 teams in the UK and the oldest league is London Roller Derby who has been going since 2006.
Contrary to popular belief there’s more to the sport than a bunch of women bashing each other about a track – although that certainly is a factor. It’s actually an incredibly tactical sport with a whopping 71-page rulebook.
A bout is divided into two-minute jams in which each team fields five players. Among those five are a jammer, a pivot and three blockers. The jammers begin behind the rest of the pack and their goal is to lap the pack as many times as they can. The teams try to help their jammer through the pack while trying to stop the opposing jammer. This can be done with full body contact but douchebag moves like elbows, headbutting, tripping and so forth are not allowed and will see the instigator sent off to the penalty box for 30 seconds.