Ready To Roll

By Freddie Lovegrove

I discovered Adelaide Roller Derby (ADRD) in the same fashion as most: a girl who works with a friend of mine is one of the skaters, and she told me to come along. It was a pretty easy call to make – I love sport, so I thought why the hell not.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Short skirts, even shorter shorts and sexy girls on roller skates…and yes, when you go to the roller derby you will see all these things, but there is so much more to it. Derby has everything you could ask for. Speed, power, grace, finesse, tactics, passion, heartbreak, wins in sudden death situations, and full-contact 1980s styled football tackles, minus the mullets and on skates.

My first derby experience was a slap in the face, but in a really good way. I had no idea how big this sport was. While the game is tactical and complex, its core premise is very simple. It does not take long to get into the swing of things despite the frenetic pace of the action on the track. You will soon be screaming along with the other 1500 people of all ages on the sidelines.

The event was run ultra-professionally, and the volunteer girls and guys who play in and run this league must be applauded. They do it for the love of the sport and it shows. League participants, including the referees, also assist with merchandising, marketing, events, and training to ensure the shows run smoothly.

Formed in 2007, ADRD consists of four derby teams and a team of referees. Each team has its own colors, themes and uniforms, and everyone is aware they are on show to a certain degree. The spectacle is all part of the experience, with every bout having live music, a commentary team, grandstands, food, drinks, the lot! It is seriously impressive stuff.

I have never seen a sport that produces such a strong sense of community. The whole league gets together during training sessions, improving their game and getting to know one another. After bouts, win or lose, the roller derby girls all go out for a drink…together! I only wish more sports were run in this way.

At the end of each season, the league takes on applications for ‘fresh meat’. Females interested in becoming a derby girl, as well as guys and gals interesting in refereeing, can try their luck for one of the squads. Competition is fierce, but if you think you’ve got what it takes, tryouts for freshies are coming up soon. Check out adelaiderollerderby.com.au for more details.

Just a warning though, kids – once roller derby has sunk its claws in you, it does not let go.

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