2012-2013 Season Schedule
Season nine is in full swing with the Minnesota RollerGirls - Minnesota’s original roller derby league.
Saturday, September 8
WFTDA Regionals, Sept. 14-16
Saturday, October 6
WFTDA Championships, Nov. 2-4
Saturday, November 10
Saturday, January 19
Saturday, February 16 with Minnesota Swarm
Saturday, March 2
Saturday, March 23
Saturday, April 6
What is Derby?
So how did this thing get started?
Derby’s origins go all the way back to the 1930s when Leo Seltzer formed groups of skaters who would skate on a track simulating the distance of a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York. Over the course of these races, people began to knock into each other as faster skaters began to lap the others and tried to weave through them. Seltzer realized that these collisions garnered the largest crowd response and the beginnings of derby as we know it today were beginning to be formulated.
The large pack was broken into two competing teams of five skaters, each of which had one “jammer” who would shoot through the pack and attempt to lap it. Through this genesis, derby became a full-contact sport with checking, elbowing, and fighting; and the crowd was loving it. Derby’s popularity grew to a sustained peak in from the 50s–70s and then started to decline in both television ratings and crowd pull. A couple attempts to resurrect the sport were made, including an inline skate version in the 1990s.
For a more in-depth treatise on roller derby history, we highly recommend the Wikipedia roller derby article.
Roller Derby 101
Many aspects of the sport are similar to the original version. The pack is still made up of five skaters on two teams, including a jammer who laps the pack to earn points. We also still use four-on-the-floor quad speed skates. The sport has many rules and if you break them you get a visit to the penalty box or worse!
Check out our video that sums up Roller Derby 101!!!
The leagues of today play on a flat track instead a banked (sloped) track like in the past. This gives the new generation of leagues the flexibility to play in any space that is large enough and doesn’t have posts in the track area. This new batch of leagues that have formed all around the country are primarily skater-owned, all-female, and for the most part all the work that goes into forming and running the league is done by the players.
Inside the Game
Are the Winners Determined Beforehand?
Hell, no, In the nadir of 70s Roller Derby, our fair sport began to decline into a pro-wrestling style format where the fights were staged and the winner pre-determined. The derby of today is not like that. We practice together and respect each other, but when it’s bout-day, those friendships are put aside for pure competition. We do practice fighting techniques to avoid undue injury as much as possible during fights, but the fights themselves are not staged and the outcome is only determined when the final whistle blows. This stuff is as real as you can get!
Do the Skaters Get Hurt?
You bet we do. Every fall comes with a bruise or scrape (we wear those like badges of honor), and many times we get hurt more than that. Some of the injuries suffered by Minnesota RollerGirls (a practice and at bouts) thus far: torn miniscus; torn PCLs, MCLs, and ACLs (who ever knew there were “CLs” other than the “ACL”??); broken ankles, tailbones, and collar bones; two spiral fractures on one leg; numerous dislocated shoulders; and all kinds of fishnet-shaped floor burns.
Can Audience Members Get Hurt?
Possibly, but it’s rare and would most likely be a bruise. Sometimes during bouts, we go flying into the crowd due to a fall. This is why there’s a buffer zone between the track and the first row of trackside seating. It’s both for your safety and ours. That’s also why we insist (and enforce) that only 18+ can sit in the trackside seating. We know it’s exciting to be down on the floor where you can really see the action, but it’s also a little more dangerous. We also ask that when you’re sitting on the floor, you be especially mindful of your drinks. Our floor surface is already quite slick, and adding any sort of liquid to that turns it into the roller skating equivalent of ice, making it very dangerous for us. Remember the cardinal rule of roller derby at the Roy: DON’T SPILL YOUR BEER.