What is Roller Derby?

Photo by Dave McAleavy

In ye olde days of roller derby, the sport was played on supercool yet superexpensive banked tracks (see Whip It). Then some smart babes back in ~2001 decided hey, how about we create a version that can be played on basically any skate-friendly surface? And so flat track roller derby was born.

Flat track roller derby is a fast-paced, full contact team sport played on roller skates around an oval track. Each team, made up of 14 players, sends 5 players out at a time to skate in two-minute jams.  The line-up for each team consists of one jammer, one pivot, and three blockers. The jammer wears a helmet cover with a star, the pivot wears a helmet cover with a stripe. The blockers have no helmet covers.

The jammer from each team attempts to score points by skating through the pack of blockers and lapping opposing team members. The blockers obstruct the opposing team’s jammer using their shoulders, hips, and butts to hit them down, off the track, or just generally get in their way. NO PUNCHING ALLOWED (sorry, Whip It fans, Smashley Simpson would have been expelled a looooong time ago). Even without any punching, there’s a whole lot of chasing, hitting and general thrills to be had in just two minutes. After the two minutes is up, a new line-up of five players from each team is sent on. This continues for 30 minutes, then there’s a drink/toilet/jelly baby break, and then it’s back on track for another 30 minutes. The team with the most points at the end of the second half wins!

Still all a bit of a foreign language? Check out Hit the Rogue’s Derby Dictionary to help you unravel all this talk about jam.

Got the bug? Check out our meet and greets to learn more about how YOU can get involved with roller derby.

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