by Felicity Caldwell | 1st January 2010
NO LONGER a sport purely for women, roller derby is welcoming men with open arms.
The fast-paced sport has exploded in popularity in recent months and Ipswich’s local league – the Brisbane City Rollers – is expecting a packed rink at its next open day for new skaters.
Known as “fresh meat”, converts spend six weeks learning the basics, including skating techniques, how to fall properly and the rules of the game.
Eastern Heights nurse and recent fresh meat graduate Brigitte Gamble, 21, said the Rollers made learning the skills a dream.
“You’re really sore at first but when you come everyone’s really welcoming and no one makes you feel stupid,” Miss Gamble said.
Ipswich receptionist Erin McIntosh also recently graduated from fresh meat training to level two and has caught the roller derby bug.
“It gives you more confidence in derby and in your everyday life,” Ms McIntosh said.
“It’s lots of fun, you get fit, it builds muscles and you get to meet new people.”
Roller derby was big in the 1960s and 70s but has experienced a recent revival across Australia and internationally.
Played on quad skates, the sport involves two teams with four defensive players (blockers) and one points scorer (jammer) on each team.
A jammer scores points for his/her team when he/she passes blockers from the opposing team while skating around an oval circuit.