Coming through! Roller Derby 101

At one of the regularly scheduled IF University classes last Wednesday, "Roller Derby 101," a group of IdeaFestival fans were introduced to the Rocknrollergirls, who demonstrated the techniques of flat track roller derby at West Sixth Brewing Company in Lexington, Ky., and held a Q & A following.

School was never like this.

The well timed shoulder bump is encouraged, but clotheslining, as one of the team members carefully explained, has been outlawed since the 1970's. In truth, roller derby has been resurgent in the past few years. Rules standardization and competitive leagues have attracted many new participants to what decades ago had been a kitschy staple of Saturday morning television, more akin to professional wrestling than serious sport. Times have definitely changed.

As one of the team members explained later, roller derby is one of the few sports where the men's teams take their sartorial clues from the women. It's not unusual to see the men sporting fishnet stocking. In fact as the women - a mom to a special needs child, a veteranarian's assistant in an animal hospital, a middle school math teacher - explained, roller derby not only gives each of them a chance to be physical - and get fit - but to adopt personas that, as we learned, are carefully chosen and filed with the national roller derby league so that they remain unique to the participant. It's combination of team sport, theatrical flair and the satisfying take down that drew Sugar Shock, Kitty O’Doom, Rainbow Smite and Robin Souls to the roller derby.

Thanks to West Sixth Brewing Company for hosting!

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