Looking to live life to the fullest in the fast lane? Roller Derby is the high octane, full contact sport guaranteed to make you feel young again!
If life has been feeling a little lacklustre lately, you may have been considering taking up a new hobby. Maybe you’ll paint, maybe you’ll take up jogging – or maybe, you’ll strap on a pair of roller skates and race around an indoor track, all the while trying to forcefully batter your opponents out of the way.
If you were considering the latter, then you would be one of the growing number of people who’ve entered the world of roller derby – a team-based contact sport played by women all around the world.
As a sport, roller derby has its origins in the 1930’s, and its modern-day inception is a female-dominated field (though male and mixed teams do exist). In derby, two opposing teams skate counter clockwise around a track at the same time. Each team designates a member who will be the point scorer (also known as the “jammer”), whose job is to try, over a series of short plays (or “jams”), to overlap their opposing jammer in order to score points. The other members of their team take on both a defensive and offensive position, in an attempt to hinder the opposition and ensure that their own jammer takes as many laps as possible.
Make no mistake – this is a physical sport, and precautions – helmets, knee pads, and mouth guards – are essential, though the rough-and-tumble element only adds to the exhilaration of the game.
The sport also stands out amongst more traditional games in that alongside its athleticism, aesthetics play a large role, not only in terms of team uniforms, but in the monikers adopted by players themselves – these are often based on pop culture references or plays on well-known phrases, and can be as crude or as humorous as you like – but originality is key.
So, where can you find it in Dublin? Established in 2009 as the Dublin Roller Girls (and renamed in 2013 as the Dublin Roller Derby), Ireland’s first flat-track roller derby league describes itself as “a fast, furious, all-female contact sport on wheels”. Training at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, they consist of an A and B team, and were recently accepted as a member of the global organisation the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Apprentice).
For those who are new to the sport, or indeed skating itself, they offer a 14-week course for ‘Fresh Meat’, though they’re also open to those who’d like to get involved in refereeing, or who’d just like to help out.
With their Fresh Meat course listed by The Irish Times in their 100 Things To Do This Summer 2013, this is definitely something to try out if you’re feeling like the treadmill just isn’t cutting it anymore, and are looking for a sport that brings little more confidence and camaraderie into your life.
The Arena at Tallaght
(National Basketball Arena)
Tel: 01 459 0211
Lead image courtesy Dublin Roller Derby Facebook page, © Sharon Lunney on Flickr