Roller Derby for Dudes
You’ve probably heard about roller derby, the close contact sport that involves chicks in fishnets beating each other to a pulp while on roller skates. You’re probably also aware of how hot Drew Barrymore looked with a bloody nose in a pair of hot pants in the movie Whip It. But did you ever consider men playing roller derby? If not, then you’re in for a surprise.
Roller derby is an American-made sport that grew in popularity during the 1970’s. Original roller derby games consisted of co-ed teams who played on a bank track (think Roller Ball sans the ball and motorcycles).
Contemporary roller derby began getting big in the 1990’s and was run and played by women on a flat track. Now, more and more leagues across the nation are going co-ed and have their own men’s team.
Roller derby is a challenging and exciting sport that requires its participants to play offense and defense simultaneously while skating around a track. A “pack” of eight players (four from each team) are lined up front. The pack is considered the defensive members. Two jammers, one from each team, are positioned behind the pack. The jammers can be identified by the stars on their helmets. Under Old School Derby Association (OSDA) rules, when the whistle blows, the pack and jammers take off at the same time. The objective is for the jammers to get through the pack legally while member of the pack block them. For each member on the opposing team the jammer passes, they receive one point.
You may be asking yourself, “Well, why would I want to play a girl’s sport?” Roller derby is anything but. It’s an aggressive sport that demands both physical and mental endurance. The hits are real as well as the injuries. Nothing is staged.
If you want to find a hobby that allows you to let off some steam and get your dose of cardio for the week, roller derby is definitely for you. It’s kind of like football or rugby but on roller skates. There is no tackling, tripping or punching allowed. But be prepared to get thrown a shoulder or hip block that may land you on the ground.
Men’s teams generally play against other men, but there are co-ed games that allow you to go up against the ladies. Women’s games are generally more calculated then men’s but they’re just as rough.
So if you’re ready to get up off of your sofa and join the next big thing, grab your helmet and a pair of skates and head down to the roller rink. For more information, check out the Men’s Roller Derby Association. And don’t worry, you’re not required to wear a pair of bootie shorts.
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About Stephanie Weaver Stephanie is a full time freelance writer from Philly. In her spare time, she enjoys playing roller derby and spending time with her English bulldog, Brit.