- What is Roller Derby?
- Is it a real game or is it staged, like professional wrestling?
- How is it played?
- What kind of skates do you wear?
- Are you paid to play?
- Can I sponsor you?
- Why all women? Do you have something against men?
- So, how do I volunteer to help?
- I am a woman and I want to skate with you, but I haven't skated in years. Can I still join?
- Will you be playing other teams/leagues?
- What is Capital Punishment and Jailbreak Betties?
Q: What is Roller Derby?
A: While the sport has its origins in the banked-track roller skating marathons of the 1930s, the more well-known version of the sport became popular in the 1940s, when Leo Seltzer and Damon Runyon changed the rules to allow more contact with two five-person teams on the track at once with points scored when its members lapped opponents. In the decades that followed, the sport became televised, but slowly began to focus more on theatrical elements which overshadowed the athleticism of the sport.
In the early 2000s, an all-female, woman organized amateur modern sport revival initially began in Austin, Texas. Since that initial start, the sport of roller derby has developed into the fastest growing amateur sport in the world with over 1150 leagues in the world currently. Although there are still banked-track leagues in the United States, the more popular incarnation of the sport is played on a flat-track since it is much more accessible and easy to set-up. Helping to govern flat-track roller derby, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is an organization which helps to push the athleticism and competition of this sport, helping to create a standard set of rules and regulations. The Tallahassee RollerGirls have been proud members of the WFTDA since 2009.
Q: Is it a real game or is it staged, like professional wrestling?
A: Roller derby is absolutely a real sport. The outcomes of the bouts are not predetermined and the teams train hard in order to compete on a national level. All teams follow a rule set and establish strategies for game play. Yes, it is a full contact sport, but you can be assured nothing is planned. The players can and do get hurt just like they would in any other sport.
Q: How is it played?
A: Four players from each team line up in formation at the starting line on a track. These skaters are called "blockers" and they compose what is referred to as the "pack." One additional skater from each team lines up twenty feet behind the back of the pack. These skaters are called "jammers." On the first whistle, the pack begins to skate. Then, the referee blows two short whistles and the jammers begin to skate. The jammer's goal is to break through the pack of skaters and lap that pack as many times as possible. The first time through the pack, a jammer does not score any points, but, when she passes through the pack the second time, she scores one point per opposing player legally passed. The rules specify certain actions that are legal (such as pushing or blocking an opposing skater using the shoulders, upper arms, or hips) and certain actions that are illegal (such as throwing an elbow, blocking from behind, and using the forearms or hands to block an opposing skater).
Q: What kind of skates do you wear?
A: Flat-track roller derby is played on quad roller skates. These are the traditional type of roller skate that has four wheels per skate: two wheels side-by-side under the front of the foot and two wheels side-by-side under the heel part of the foot. Inline skates may be worn by referees, but not by skaters.
Q: Are you paid to play?
A: No. The Tallahassee RollerGirls league is the result of hours of practice and lots of out-of-pocket expenses. Our skaters purchase our own equipment and cover some of their travel costs. We are fortunate to have excellent sponsors that help with the expenses of running an amateur sports league.
Q: Can I sponsor you?
A: Yes, of course! A sponsorship packet, detailing the benefits and privileges of TRG sponsors can be obtained by contacting our sponsorship coordinator, Stone. or by going to the sponsors section of our Website. Sponsors enjoy such perks as free tickets to bouts and events, VIP seating, and inclusion of logo on flyers and other media, etc. Get with Stone and find out how the Tallahassee RollerGirls can be an advertising opportunity for your business!
Q: Why all women? Do you have something against men?
A: Absolutely not. As the modern roller derby movement has developed, it has been one primarily composed of women skating on a flat track. In order to better facilitate the organization of this sport in its infancy, the WFTDA was formed. One of their rules was that the skaters must be female and the league must be owned and operated by those skaters. Currently there are male leagues and we highly encourage anyone interested in the sport of roller derby to get out there and play! While our specific league is a female one, there are many opportunities for men who wish to be involved in the TRG league. Our league has several male referees who are excellent skaters, non-skating officials, and volunteer league support staff.
Q: So, how do I volunteer to help?
A: The Tallahassee RollerGirls love volunteers! If you’d like to become a non-skating official or referee contact our Head Ref Chemical NaCl or to volunteer please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Babe Sapien.
Q: I am a woman and I want to skate with you, but I haven't skated in years. Can I still join?
A: Absolutely! We welcome any women who are 18 or older. Superior skating skills are not required, as we have plenty of drills and techniques that you can learn and practice to improve your ability and bring you up to a "derby" level. Several of the skaters in our league first laced up a pair of skates earlier this year and they are whizzing around like champs now. If you have the desire to play roller derby and you are capable of putting in the time and effort it will take to master the required skills, we welcome you to come to a practice and see what we're about. Of course, we also welcome those of you out there who are already skilled skaters! You can find further information about practices under Join TRG.
Q: Will you be playing other teams/leagues?
A: Yes. We currently have bouts scheduled with various derby leagues both in-state and out-of-state this season. Check our Website for our most current season schedule.
Q: What is Capital Punishment and Jailbreak Betties?
A: Capital Punishment is the name of Tallahassee's All-Star Team that typically bouts against other leagues All-Star Squads. Many of these bouts are WFTDA match-ups that count towards rankings. Jailbreak Betties is the name of Tallahassee's B-Team. This team is used for training towards the All-Star Team and typically competes against other B-Teams or Non-WFTDA leagues.