You know a sport is growing exponentially when there are internet sites dedicated specifically to tracking new teams internationally.
On Derby Earth they track and map, just about every Derby league on the planet!! From banked track, to WFTDA Leagues, to independants and juniors, this site is a one-stop shop for people looking to find Roller Derby Worldwide!
According to Lesley McDonald (aka Badgirlfriend Hoochie), owner of Bad Girlfriend Skates and President of CWRDA, the sport quadrupled last year. In 2009 there were about 20 leagues part of CWRDA. In 2010 there were over 50 and the amount of skaters went from 400 to over 2000. Already by February of 2011 there are 5 new leagues, as well, add to these numbers, Junior roller derby. Wow! That’s Canada alone!!
There are no lack of blogs and websites that are run by derby enthusiasts. The Roller Derby community is as diverse as it is colourful. If you were to key in “Roller Derby” on any search engine you would find multiple sites for everything from explanation of the sport to derby owned businesses (that range from clothing/gear to insurance companies!), league information, Facebook sites, fan sites….I think you get the idea! Doesn’t really fall just into the stereotype of the heavily tattooed and pierced girl anymore now does it? (though, there are still plenty of amazing individuals like that too)
In my opinion there are 2 major areas that have caused the explosion of the sport: flat tracks and healthy female empowerment.
While there are still some leagues that use the banked tracks, they are expensive! A league pretty much has to own the building the track is in to be able to function with one. Flat tracks allow leagues to practice and have games just about anywhere. There is no costly setup or maintenance. They are essentially portable. That being said though, space can still be difficult to find, especially in Canada in the winter months, when most rinks are filled with ice for hockey season. In a perfect derby world, all leagues would have their own venues and large corporate sponsorship. We can all dream I guess…lol.
Roller Derby, in my opinion, is a strong source of positive image for woman. EVERY woman who plays is beautiful and powerful! You will NEVER hear someone call you fat or ugly. Scars are beauty marks and bruises compared. I remember my first practice. I was wearing a pair of yoga pants and didn’t necessarily like what I saw in the mirror before I left home. Once I was at the rink I did not once think about that again. This is a sport that NEEDS EVERY BODY TYPE to succeed. If I am jamming, the most beautiful sight to me are the rear-ends of the blockers on my team. Nothing makes me feel safer on the track, than a team mate that I know can launch someone from the opposing team off the track with a swish of her hips. Whether you are tall and skinny, have an apple-bottom or build like a body-builder, Roller Derby will find a place for you to excel. How amazing is that?
There is alot to be said as well, for the alter-egos that are chosen by the players and refs. Some choose to be flambouyant or sexy, others are just purely athletic. Again, the old stereo-type is starting to falter. It’s about having fun. Be someone else if you want to be, bring out that inner animal. There is no “wrong”.
Check out the next game in Edmonton on February 19 at the MetroSportsplex at 7pm. Rocking With the Rookies is a fundraiser for the Oil City Derby Girls and will have rookies from Team North (Grande Prairie, Fort St. John) taking on Team South (Edmonton and southern Alberta). There will be bands, door prizes and oh yes, booze as well! Hope to see you there!
Much Derby Love,