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June 6, 2015

Ladies Flat Track Roller Derby IS NON-Stop Action….

by Larry Leek

Low Country High Rollers Team’s Logos

If you’ve never been to see Roller Derby up close & personal, then you are definitely missing out on some nice action, from a sport that’s been around as long as the rest. It’s great entertainment when out for a night looking for a good time.

First off it takes plenty of skill to put on a pair of skates and fly around at a HIGH rate of speed on what seems a much wider track than it actually is, when it’s full of blockers lined up to thwart or do what their name suggest’s,  which is to block and prevent the speedy jammers flying in from behind the blockers attempting to score points.

It is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction. Game play consists of a series of short match ups (“jams”) in which both teams designate a scoring player (the “jammer”) who scores points by lapping members (Blockers) of the opposing team. The teams attempt to hinder the opposing jammer while assisting their own jammer, in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously which can be very difficult. There is also the pivot position who plays a blocker basically hanging at the back of the pack ahead of the opposing teams back row of blockers. If the Jammer comes in and is unable to get past the initial blockers, the Jammer can remove the Jammer Star and hand it to the pivot player who then becomes the Jammer and can proceed to pass the opposing teams blockers for points. The Jammer’s star is worn over their helmet which slip’s on pretty much like a stocking cap does on a persons head. The star is worn to signify s each teams Jammer.

Roller derby is played by approximately 1,250 amateur leagues worldwide, nearly half of them outside the U.S.

While the sport has its origins in the banked-track roller skating marathons of the 1930’s, Leo Seltzer and Damon Runyon are credited with the basic evolution of the sport to its initial competitive form. Professional roller derby quickly became popular; in 1940 more than 5 million spectators watched in about 50 US cities. In the ensuing decades, however, it predominantly became a form of sports entertainment where the theatrical elements overshadowed the athleticism. This gratuitous showmanship largely ended with the sport’s contemporary grassroots revival in the first decade of the 21st century. Although some sports entertainment qualities such as player pseudonyms and colorful uniforms were retained, scripted bouts with predetermined winners were abandoned. At one point the sport became much like professional wrestling where the winners are also predetermined.

Modern roller derby is an international sport dominated by all-female amateur teams, in addition to a growing number of male, co-ed, and junior roller derby teams, and was (as a roller sport) under consideration for the 2020 Olympics.

As of 2014 the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, or WFTDA, had 243 full member leagues and 114 Apprentice Leagues, Many of the leagues are team/player supported and much of the proceeds go to various charities. So to say that these ladies play for the LOVE of the sport is an understatement.

This Is Whats On My Sports Mind about this subject….

As a youngster I used to enjoy watching the old banked track roller derby, where it was much like a hockey match where you saw more fighting than game ONLY the fighting was NOT real and the winners were predetermined, thou the fans weren’t supposed to know (Yea right!).

WFTDA has a completely different approach to the old sport. It’s not played on a banked track but a flat track which takes even more skill especially in the curves. The ladies have completely cleaned up the sport and made it competitive, fast paced, FULL of action, NON violent and NO winners are predetermined EVER….

My daughter who is a Jammer and Blocker, plays on a team located in Charleston, SC, The Holy City Heartbreakers, which is part of the Low Country High Rollers group of teams. Their home games are held at 3337 Business Circle North Charleston, SC. They have teams for home games and also away games. Other teams around the area are located in Columbia, SC, Greensboro and Charlotte, NC to name a few.

Remember these ladies are all volunteers so all are not able to travel, so that’s why they have a different team for each, which makes perfect sense. The logos used in this article belong to those teams associated with the High Rollers. They play in a home league and also a separate travel league. and they also have team rankings just like other sports.

I have went to their games and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute, the games are usually very high scoring since multiple points can be scored during every jam. It’s also the ONLY sport around where both teams can score points simultaneously and that along with the high scoring makes for LOADS of action. The game also has quite a bit of strategy involved which also consist’s of complete lineups subbing in and out after each and every jam (which last’s a max of 2 min.) in order to keep the players (especially the jammers) fresh.

Believe ME it,s not like putting on a pair of skates at your local skating rink and getting in on a little bump a rooskie action with friends. You want to see some bumping, blocking, SKILLS and spills on skates, then you need to take in the action.

Most IMPORTANTLY you need to remember that these teams are mostly self supported by it’s players who also donate most of the proceeds to various community Charities, not to mention they have to pay for the venues they play in and the equipment they wear and the skates these ladies use cost hundreds more than the normal roller skate. But when you find teams and leagues who exist in that manner, THAT’S when it’s so much more meaningful to the players involved and so much more special for the fans who follow. So Find a team near you and FOLLOW. You will NOT regret a moment of it….

So Whats On Your Sports Mind about this subject?



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