A Workout on Wheels

Gotham Girls Sticker

What sport is as brutal as football, needs as much skill as soccer, and incorporates as many crazy outfits as ice skating? Roller derby of course!

This sport, originating in 1930s America, has had a big resurgence in the last few years. Whip It is a testament (although a fairly inaccurate one) to the growing interest of ladies in this sport on roller skates. 14 women, dressed to the nines in what are sometimes called “bout-fits” skate around a rink and attempt to score points over their opponents. What’s the interest you say? The violence, of course! The team is composed of blockers and jammers and, while jammers try to score points, blockers are out there doing what they do best: throwing elbows and bumping people.

Bay Area bout photograph courtesy of Derby News Network

Modern derby teams are composed of all females and involves some excruciating training – to be approved to play, you have to go through a type of boot camp. Imagine doing lunges and jumps in skates… for several hours. But, if you make it through the training and tests, you are sure to have a tight-knit community of ladies to hang with and a much stronger body for it. What could be better than a fun workout on wheels?

Manhattan Mayhem image courtesy of the Gotham Girls website

Want to know more? Here is a site that explains the rules and the history of the game: How Roller Derby Works. If you’re interested in watching a match – which are called “bouts” in derby lingo – you can head over to Derby News Network. And, if you’re interested in getting involved with a local team, Gotham Girls is the collection of NYC teams that have positions available for trying out, training, volunteering or refereeing. Check them out at the Gotham Girls website.

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