A History of Roller Derby – Part 2
In part one of our blog to look at the history of Roller Derby we concluded with the rise in popularity of women’s Roller Derby and how the modern sport is growing in popularity across the United States. Today’s Roller Derby attracts all types of people but it has fashioned its own style and identity.
Roller Derby Style
Roller Derby today has its own distinct style and individual teams create their own identity. When it first started in 2001 the early women’s teams had a sort of rebellious theme to them, uniforms of fishnets tights were common and players had highly unusual provocative names. Today Roller Derby has grown out of its teenage years and has a much more adult look to it. The fishnet stockings have been replaced by athletic bottoms and team vests. The girls participating take their Roller Derby seriously and practice for at least ten hours a week with their teams, and even more hours by themselves. This training not only keeps the players fit but helps to avoid injury when playing.
Roller Derby has spread outside America and now is enjoyed all over the world, it has become predominately a women’s and youth’s sport. In 2010 there were an estimated one hundred and fifty Roller Derby leagues in the United States, and more than fifteen hundred in the world. The majority are women’s leagues although there are men’s and kid’s leagues as well. These leagues are in every continent and country and the sport is still growing with new leagues being formed in new countries nearly every year.
Top Teams in the World
Women’s Roller Derby now has its own association called the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and the current top ten teams in the world today are: Victoria, Gotham Girls, Denver, Arch Rival, Texas, Montreal, Angel City, Jacksonville, Crime City and Rose City. Today the WFTDA has currently four hundred and eighteen affiliated leagues that are classed as Full Member Leagues and forty seven Apprentice Leagues. Teams in the WFTDA-charter compete for calculated rankings during a season from the start of December to the end of June, and then are seeded for Playoff’s at the end of the season based on their rankings.
Although the majority of the leagues are still in America, some of the Roller Derby Leagues are in surprising countries dotted around the globe and have teams, such as: 2×4 Roller Derby in Buenos Aires, Aalborg Roller Derby in Denmark, Adelaide Roller Derby, Cape Town Rollergirls, Crime City Rollers Sweden, Devil Dog Derby Dames in Okinawa, Dolly Rockit Rollers in Great Britain and Grey City Rebels in Sao Paolo.
It can be safely said that Roller Derby is very much alive and kicking around the world, and that it is dominated and enjoyed mostly by women. The sport has grown from its humble beginnings in America to something that is a global phenomenon. Although the majority of contact has been taken out of the sport it is still a fast physical sport that is great to participate in or simply watch.