Fishnets, tattoos, war paint and broken noses?! It’s that smashing time of year – derby season is here again folks!
And why wouldn’t fans be excited when the big names are back! The Assassins Appollonia Thunderpussy and Unicorn Winnie Bruise are ready to take down fellow all-stars from the Beauty School Knockouts Sideshow Ho and Great Bolz of Fire. You just can’t keep these girls from Jamming!
An explosive cult following for Roller Derby on a global scale is in no small part thanks to Drew Barrymore’s 2009 directorial debut Whip It, which threw the sport into the limelight.
Although relatively fresh on the scene, the Roller Derby craze has significantly taken over since its Aussie retro revamp in 2007, and is now the fastest growing female sport in the country. There are now over 50 leagues in Australia and impressively 15 of those are in NSW.
The aggressive and controversial nature of the sport has only amplified its popularity. A regulated fight club on wheels for ‘Derby girls’ with natural aggression and passion for the Derby culture that shines through every skater.
Reduced to its basics, roller derby is a simple game. There are two 30-minute halves, during which each team fields five women at a time in shifts (called jams) that last up to two minutes. They skate counter clockwise around an oval track, slightly smaller in circumference than a basketball court. There’s one jammer per shift, who scores a point each time she laps an opposing skater. After her first, non-scoring pass through the opposing team, the leading jammer also has the strategic option of ending the jam prematurely by tapping her hands to her hips. The other eight players skate in a pack and make judicious use of their hips and arms to clear space for their jammer and stymie her opposite number.
So what can you expect to see at a bout that regularly sells out to 3000 fans? A spectacle of fierce competition, hard knockdowns, big stacks and epic victories. Half-time entertainment that consists of alternative bands and artist performances will rock your skates off between bouts while you grab a drink and take up a suicide seat on the edge of the track (not for the faint-hearted) and cheer on your favourite team.
To help celebrate their fourth competitive season and showcase their “fresh meat”, head down this weekend to see the Sydney Roller Derby League parade their skills at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre and root for the most talented kick-ass women in this notoriously brutal sport.
And if you’re not a Derby fan already, we promise you, one bout and you’ll be hooked for life.