OK, Enough With The Roller Derby Stuff
Posted on 16. Apr, 2009 by The Gimcracker in Sports
I feel like roller derby thinks it’s going to rise up and become a prominent force in our society much like NFL or McDonalds or Paul Walker (just kidding) and I want to sit roller derby down and say to her “you are tenacious but please – enough already” because seriously IT’S FOR LESBIANS. It’s OK that it’s for lesbians, and I am not bashing lesbians in any way shape or form. But the fact is that if something is targeted to such a small slice of the population, it’s not going to become mainstream enough to have any kind of bearing on our culture.
I know a few guys that have the desire to watch roller derby too (I still think it exists mainly for and because of feminist lesbians – it’s like women’s softball except it doesn’t have the companion sport of men’s softball to garner interest from the other half of the population – I’m not hating, just stating…), but it’s a fact that roller derby takes itself too seriously when clearly it’s not meant to be taken seriously in the first place. Um, I hope. Come on The Garden of Heathen – seriously? Wait, stop, everyone listen to that word I just typed: HEATHEN. You can’t ignore that word. No, I’m not being overly sensitive. A heathen is an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible.
My point is, either roller derby doesn’t take itself seriously (hence the “heathen” stuff), or it DOES take itself seriously. If the former is true, then I’m right and it’s just a passing fad like the Skippit and it can go away now because it’s already cliched. If the latter is true, then I’m wrong but we have a much bigger problem here folks: no one believes in God anymore.
Sorry for the depressing/self-righteous post. This ought to patch things up between us:
Hey Brian. Your post, you – ah….wha. HUH?
I don’t get it. What is roller derby? Is it a real sport? I bet if you asked people that play it they would tell you it is. So if it’s a real sport, why all the heathen and dirty words and imagery? Seems to me like it resembles wrestling more than it resembles a sport like golf or football. Please, if someone knows the answer to this, let me in on it.
(I’m guessing it’s ultimately more like wrestling, in which case I’m already sick of it just like I was always sick of WWF. Anyone? Hello?)
I have to weigh in here, being a roller girl myself. It’s actually not a sport “for lesbians.” At least not exclusively. There are a few who skate in my league but it’s just a handful out of 60 or so women. It is, however, perfectly accepting of lesbians, stay at home moms, big girls, skinny girls and every other type of women one can think of. It is nothing like wrestling, though old-school derby was staged. Most leagues require you to skate 3 or more practices each week. Each practice is 2 hours. Most of us work out a few more days a week. Every hit, bruise, etc. is real. My league currently has 3 people not skating because of broken bones they received in practice. There is men’s roller derby, too. One of the beautiful things about roller derby is that we keep it tongue in cheek (funny names, our team’s themes, the bout names, etc.) while still trying to garner attention to it as a real sport. Because it undeniably is. It’s just that it’s a little more fun when you add the quirky stuff. Hope this helps to clear up your obvious roller derby confusion!
Thank you Sk8tr, at least now I know what roller derby is all about straight from the mouth of someone who plays it. I didn’t realize men played it! I guess the episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain that I watched (where he went to a roller derby and men were not allowed to play) does not represent the entire sport of roller derby. Who knew?
Maybe this is how all sports start. I guess the weird thing about roller derby – the thing that turns me off – is the infusion of all the weird/crass/funny names and themes. I’ve never watched another serious, competitive sport that has that element in it. In any case, thanks for the clarification.
I gotta check out that episode of No Reservations… There are separate leagues for men and women. We don’t skate together, although significant others and men skaters often fill in as our refs. It’s definitely unusual for a sport to have themes, etc. and it’s fading away a bit in some derby leagues as we get more athletic and more competitive. Frankly, it’s part of what I love about it, though. It just kind of gives it a little something that sets it apart from other sports and it attracts more alternative-types who may feel uncomfortable in traditional sport atmospheres. Check out http://www.wftda.com for info if you’re interested in more detail. That’s the womens’ flat track derby association’s web site. Hope you get to check out more derby!
i am a roller girl, and the names are just for fun. but we are real athletes, and should be taken seriously as athletes. we are 100 % self funded, skater owned and operated, and we dedicate a lot of time and energy, and bodily harm to this sport. thus, if you don't like it, don't watch it. oh, and we have 40 girls on our team, and no lesbians. but if we did have lesbians, who cares?
I guess there's an unfair stigma against the sport then… thanks for the comment.
I play derby. It's a sport. There are positions, rules, plays….and yeah, the players have fun with creative names and outfits. And yeah…we break bones and sprain things and work our asses off in practice. The hits are real. Vaguely resembles…Rugby on quads.
And as for the lesbian comment…we have a few girls on our team who are gay. Most of us aren't. And no one cares. Seems to me, wrestling in leotards with other dudes is way more homo-erotic…but that's been legitimized as a sport.
Go to a bout…it's an awesome, intense sport. There's a reason it has a following. If that doesn't change your mind…then i guess you're just really fucking lame.
Comments like this are exactly why I wrote this post. Thanks for enlightening me. Maybe I'll go to a bout sometime…
I am actually a male roller derby player. I skate for a team in Baltimore. Men's roller derby is kind of like football, but instead of using our real names and raping women, cheating on our wives, taking steroids, and fighting with each other because we are babies who make too much money – we pay for our own equipment and travel, do some charity work, support our roller girls, and get along with each other, all while under incredibly witty names like Carnage Asada, Groper Cleavage, Fo' Wheel?, and Bram Stroker. However, I think I am one of a few dudes who tries to make it to church every Sunday.
I am new to Women's Flat Track Derby. I work a 9 to 5 job, have no visible tattoos and have been married to a man for 8 very happy years. This is the first team sport I've played since I was 5 and I love it. We have straight women, gay women, moms, doctors, lawyers, bartenders, big ladies, skinny ladies, some women as young as 21 and one of our players turns 50 this year (she is incredible by the way!). We do some charity work, practice 6- 12 hours per week and lots of our players get injured because the hits are 100% real. The names are just fun. Before a skater is allowed to Bout (play in a game) she must pass a written and physical skills test. Only after she has passed both can she get her Derby Name and play. If you're ever on Long Island, please come to a practice or a game!
The Gimcracker, Harlem Globe Trotters are amazing athletes and they put on a big show. It's not fake, they have to practice just like the NBA does, if not harder! Same with roller derby, we have to do something to get a fanbase/get attention and hold attention. My team skates 2 times a week 3hrs at a time and another monthly practice on weekends which is also 3 hrs long. Not to mention all the paperwork involved with being self-run and governed. Scheduling bouts, setting up for the bouts, creating artwork for merchandise,ordering said merchandise,marketing our team, gaining local support, setting up events to raise money, keeping a budget, making enough money to pay our rink for rink time and this is maybe just a quarter of the work. Anywho, I bet you, you will NEVER meet a roller girl who isn't in absolute LOVE with the sport, you're so right it IS empowering to women, and you wont find many people who have been to a bout that they didn't enjoy(men, women, and children alike). I say check out a bout, there's about a 99.9% chance that you will fall in love with at least one roller derby persona.
What She Said
Next time, please at least go to a bout, or do some research before writing an article bashing a true sport that many men and women love and make part of themselves. Roller Derby is a part of who I am as a person so reading this really was upsetting. It okay to have opinions, but next time consider those who are effected before stating them. Especially if they are not backed up by any research. I do appreciate you acknowledging that you should go to see a bout. I hope you do! You will see why so many men and women are involved in this sport and why this will be just as big as the NFL one day. Maybe not right away…but one day!
I'm a guy who just recently learned more about the sport through friends who do it on other places. Because I'm a guy I am limited to doing other "helper" type duties such as ref, setup, marketing, etc. I'm learning to be a ref and let me tell you it is no joke. Probably more technical than any other sport out there, and very official. Very surprising! I come to practices with the girls and skate along side them while they do their conditioning. I'm in shape, I do triathlons, so I was thinking I'd have it easy, and boy was I wrong. Skating is one of the best form of exercises out there, and girls in derby are FAST. I have trouble keeping up and they just keep going and going. The best part about it all though is the family feeling. These girls get together multiple times a week, for 11 to 12 months out of the year to do something they love, and they really come together.
They'd do anything for one another and really form a bond to be jealous of. Girls from every walk of life join, no sponsors, scraping together their savings to get the equipment they need to join the sport. It's all very impressive and just weeks in I'm already so glad I can be a part of it. When people ask why I do it, I simply tell them it's because I get the best seat in the house! And when they do a block and someone gets taken out, I might get taken out too. It's no joke. These girls are without a doubt athletes and I DARE anyone who doubts to meet one on the track for a one on one. I already know who is going to win that one. You go girls!
After reading your article Gimcracker all I have to say really is that you clearly are small minded, writing to you from Australia, i can say that Roller Derby is not a passing fad, that is an exclusive sport as you say for "lesbians" most of the women are not lesbians and as a matter of fact are a minority in Derby, The sport of Roller Derby requires a level of skill far greater than NFL in my opinion not only do you have to be a skilled skater, it requires the player to be able to weave and avoid obstacles while rolling around on wheels, I'd like to see a big unco-ordinated NFL player do that, I am sure they would fall flat on their face, to prove this we only have to look at the Australian version of Dancing with the stars to see that NFL players are not great on their feet.
further more for your information Roller Deby is not targeted at Lesbians, being a player of Roller Derby myself and a completley heterosexual wife and mother of 2 children who also holds a degree in Nursing, I feel that you may be just a tad jealous that it is currently a predominantly womens only sport and you secretly want to play, Roller Derby does not think it's going to rise up and become a prominant force in our society as you state in your opening line of your article Roller Derby has risen up and IS a predominant force in society, When Roller Derby originally started well before I was born granted it was an acted sport just like WWF however Roller Derby is not played that way now, it is real, and the wrestling you claim occurs does not if you bothered to read the rules of the sport which you can find at the womens flat track Derby Association website, you will note that there is no wrestling mentioned any where, to use the word Heathen (your words) is ridiculous and shows how small minded you actually are, many of the Derby Players in Ausralia are Doctors, lawyers etc, and swear on the bible everyday.
(continued from previous posts) Clearly you are against any activity that empowers women and are probably one of those people that thinks that a mans meal should be on the table when he walks in the door, and that a wife should perform all the cleaning duties in the home and not have a job, or a right to live their own LIFE!
Shame on you Gimcracker what has playing a sport got to do with believeing in god or not? you are an idiot in the true sense of the word. and Yes the sport of Roller Derby does take itself seriously indeed, we are athletes who love their game – get over yourself Gimcracker -