Hell on wheels rolls into town
THE Helltown Rollerz. That’s what a bunch of mums are planning on calling Gympie’s first roller derby league.
Dressed in punk attire – complete with fishnets, short shorts and attitudes to match – the animated group of mums showed they can not wait to get their skates on and have a crack at the 70s-inspired sport.
Last week derby enthusiast Trudi Waters was spurred on to create the Bring Derby to Gympie Facebook group, in a bid to raise enough interest to bring a team together and find a place for them to train.
So far 101 people have ‘liked’ the page, and she almost has the numbers required to make a 14-strong woman team.
“There’s plenty (of potential players) in town that would want to give it a go,” Waters said.
Kylie Fresen, one of the would-be players, explained her reasons for wanting to have a crack at the sport.
“It’s something different to do, to have fun and keep fit,” she said.
Roller derby is an all girl, full contact sport where five players from two teams skate around a track on rollerskates.
At the front of the pack is a ‘pivot’ who sets the pace of the ‘blockers’ directly behind them, whose job is to impede the opposing team’s ‘jammer’ (or point-scorer) while helping their own jammer through the pack.
The jammers start 20ft behind the pack and score points by passing opposing players.
They have to barge their way through the pack of blockers and complete one lap before they can start scoring points.
Each player the jammer passes is worth one point.
Renowned for its tough players who give hard knocks, roller derby is not for everyone.
Asked about the aggressive nature of the sport, Trudi said: “We’ve all given birth and we’re good with pain. We have a high threshold”.
But she said it was safe enough that she would let her own daughter play.
A good friend of Waters, Rachel ‘Mace’ Powers who skates with the Brisbane City Rollers, has backed the future Gympie league.
“We need a coach. We’re all working on getting our skates,” Waters said. “It will be something to attract people to Gympie.”
Another team hopeful Sandy Breese said joining was an excuse to get the skates back on. “I’m nearly 40 – you’re never too old.”
The girls told The Gympie Times they would like to see a skating rink built in Gympie, and have fond memories growing up skating.
For more details, or if you can help, contact the girls via the Bring Derby to Gympie Facebook page.
To get a taste for what roller derby is all about, catch the Sunshine Coast’s Blood Diamonds as they take on Brisbane’s Nasty Nancies tonight at the Caloundra Indoor Stadium, North St Caloundra, from 6pm. Tickets are available at the door.
Roller Derby 101
- All female, full-contact sport, based on the 70s spectacle
- Modern roller derby started in the US in 2000, but there are now leagues all over the world;
- It’s the fastest-growing female sport in the world;
- Two 30 minute halves are broken down into two minute ’jams’;
- There are no balls – each team has one point-scorer, called the ’jammer’, who scores a point for every opponent she passes;
- The other players try to block their opposing players to make it harder the other team’s jammer to get past;
- The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner