Since we founded our league, Fort Wayne Derby Girls, in 2005, we’ve been fighting the preconceived ideas about what roller derby is and who participates. First, no, we are not strippers on skates, as one potential sponsor referred to us our first season. And second, this is not your grandmother’s roller derby folks. This is all-women roller derby and we play on a flat track. Nothing about our bouts is staged. We have a 43-page rule book that we study. We train hard (well, I am not a part of the “we” anymore since I retired, but you get it) 3 or 4 days a week, not to mention the off-skate stuff we do at home or at the gym to strengthen our core and build lean muscles. We consistently sell out the expo at the Memorial Coliseum (2,000+ fans). We take it seriously. And we love it.
When we were a fledgling league, we took any and all media coverage we could get and we weathered through the “professional by day, terror on the track by night” human interest stories. I get it- that is interesting, for awhile. But after 6 years of working our butts off, it’s getting old. There’s more to this story than simply exploring how an overworked school teacher takes out her aggression. For the most part, our local media gets it, though we are still working on those local sportscasters on TV. Guess what? We are way more entertaining the high school football
When I ran across this national news story, it got my blood boiling. Yes, I am glad that the national media has finally caught up, but we should be way past this. We’ve grown from 0 to 300 leagues in 8 years and exist on 6 out of 7 continents- dang you Antarctica! We host regional and national tournaments. We have collaborated to form a national governing body, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. We represent over 60,000 skaters. Heck, even Nike included us in their most recent commercial. We have arrived.
CBS, I wish you would have done your research. While we may not be “mainstream,” we deserve a little more respect than this human interest story provides. Back in it’s hay day? Really? This is the hay day! And escapism? Whatever!