13 Things You Didn’t Know About Roller Derby

Always wondered what exactly roller derby is anyway? Here’s your go-to guide for the basics of the game. Who knows, you could be the next Skate Winslet or Hurt Vonneguts! To Love, Sweat and Beers™.

1. Roller Derby traces back to “skating marathons” in the 1930’s.

Al Aumuller, World-Telegram / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Originally, the goal of the sport was to complete a particular amount of laps around the track. In the 1940’s it began to evolve into a competitive contact sport.

2. There are three positions in roller derby: jammer, blocker, and pivot.

Minette Layne / Via Flickr: minette_layne

The Jammer laps the opposing team members. The blockers help create a pack that protects the Jammer. The Pivot is a blocker who can be designated as a jammer during a jam as long as their helmet colors are transferred over properly, they can also act as a temporary captain to the pack.

3. Points are awarded by the jammer passing opposing team members.

Daniel Stockman / Via Flickr: evocateur

4. There are two different helmet covers: stars for the jammer and stripes for the pivot.

thelondonrollergirls / Via Flickr: londonrollergirls

5. Team members usually have neat “skater names”.

Christopher Neugebauer / Via Flickr: chrisjrn

Some of these awesome pseudonyms include things like Michelle O’BamYa, Punky Bruiser, and Princess Lay-Ya Flat.

6. Names of bouts and tournaments also tend to be really awesome.

Christopher Neugebauer / Via Flickr: chrisjrn

Bouts tend to have fun, clever event names like “Night of the Rolling Dead” or “Knocktoberfest”.

7. Roller derby hit its peak in the 1970’s.

Gary Paulson / Via Flickr: gpaulson

In 1972, 50,118 fans broke the record for the highest turnout to a game.

8. ‘Rink rash’ is when a skater falls and skins their legs.

Kristina D.C. Hoeppner / Via Flickr: 4nitsirk

9. These ladies are fearless.

Earl McGehee / Via commons.wikimedia.org

The chest is usually the number one target zone in roller derby. Other areas that are allowed are the hands, hips, abdomen and front/sides of the player’s legs. The neck, back, and leg below the thigh are illegal target zones and can result in a penalty.

10. Roller Derby as we know it was revived in the early 2000’s.

Eli Christman / Via Flickr: gammaman

In Austin, Texas!

11. Sugar Ray Robinson’s son was a derby champ.

His son Ronnie Robinson was a derby star in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He also acted as a coach for various leagues!

12. There are over 1,200 amateur leagues worldwide.

Terrence McNally / Via Flickr: terrencemcnally

Some countries who participate include the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Brazil, and Australia.

13. The sport is under consideration for the 2020 Olympics.

Masonite Burn / Via Flickr: masonite-burn

Fingers crossed!

Find out what happens when legendary athletes step into everyday games to help people take down their league rivals with “The Sub”:

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