If you’re searching for a new hobby for 2009, try taking roller derby for a spin.
The sport dates back as far as the 1920s, but has seen a resurgence in the past several years with leagues popping up in cities coast to coast. And it doesn’t seem like roller derby mania is going anywhere anytime soon.
Since most roller derby leagues are all-female, grassroots organizations, in my eyes it’s got feminism all over it. And if I could actually get half-way around a rink without falling on my ass I’d be on somebody’s team.
But before you sign-up take note that roller derby is not for punks. It’s a full-contact form of sports entertainment that takes no prisoners.
I recently had a brief chat with roller derby diva Jackie Clay. First, let me say that her skating alias is “belle Right hooks” — feminist, southern and badasss. I love it!
Formerly a part of the Tragic City Rollers of Birmingham, Ala., the 28-year-old recently relocated to Oakland, Calif., and is putting in work to move up from a “rinky dink” and become an official member of the Bay Area Derby Girls, a.ka. the B.A.D. Girls.
Jackie told me why she loves roller derby and why you should too:
What is it that you love about roller derby?
I love that it is real, hard-hitting and all about the ladies. There is positive energy connected to women-centered activities. It is strengthening.
I enjoy bouts (that’s what their public matches are called) but appreciate practices. I love seeing everyone improve and work as a collective. As you get older, we have fewer opportunities to work together for pleasure.
Have you had any nasty injuries?
No. Knock on wood.
For people who aren’t familiar with it, can you briefly explain the basic rules of roller derby and how a bout normally goes?
Whoa, this is easier said than done. I have two suggestions. One, support you local Derby Ladies and attend a bout. Two, check out this sweet website http://www.wftda.com/.
Since we’re all about girl power here at Georgia Mae, I have to ask if you think roller derby can be empowering for young women?
Roller Derby is empowering to women in every way! It’s all about strong women — physically and mentally — coming together to kick butts! There’s nothing better.