Walking into anything new can be intimidating. Most people have no experience with roller derby, so they find reasons to stay home. However, this close proximity, high energy sport is not to be missed. A new fan should not fear their lack of knowledge; It is unlikely they will be the only newbie to derby. Here are ten reasons you should not miss your local roller derby bout.
The WOW factor
How many of your friends watch roller derby? If the answer is “many”, then maybe there is something to this. Maybe they have an in on something. If your answer is “none”, you can introduce your circle to the fast-growing sport on the planet. How cool does that make you look?
The social works of derby teams
Roller derby teams are often Non-Profit organizations. However, these for-skater-by-skater teams often do not keep their profits for themselves. Teaming up with charities at events and for bouts are a way for league members to support their community. Thousands of dollars have been raised by teams for charities from Breast Cancer Awareness to Special Education.
These are athletes. Teams practice between two and six times a week, and the participants work out beyond their practice limits. The feats of agility and pure strength on display at any bout (whether it’s the Philly Roller Girls or Black Rose Rollers) is simply impressive; especially when you consider they are doing it on eight wheels.
“Any Given Sunday”
Just like in any other mainstream sport, roller derby has the “any given Sunday” mantra. The Oly Rollers came out of nowhere and their first season as a WFTDA team, and took the Hydra as the underdog. It is possible for any team to sweat and bleed their way to beating a giant of roller derby.
Less expensive than a movie date
An American movie date can easily breach $75 (IMAX anyone?). Yes, there are some places that offer beer or full entrees (thank you Charm City). Yes, buying merch will up the final cost, but most teams still play in roller rinks with small concessions and bake sales. A derby date can easily stay under $30! Derby encourages interaction and conversation, whether you are with one person or a group.
The roller derby community is a very inclusive place. If it’s a tailgate kind of bout, get a group together and hang out beforehand. Groups often mix and mingle. Don’t know what’s going on during the game? Ask the people beside you! Regardless of the side you are rooting for, everyone is super friendly and inclusive. You will make friends in the fans, the refs, and the league members themselves at bouts and events.
Direct interaction with athletes
How many sports teams offer one-on-one time with their athletes? Every bout and after party is a meet and greet, and leagues host events throughout the year where you can buy your favorite derby girl a brew. You can catch up with league scores from those directly involved, and can really feel like a part of the organization even as a fan.
Mainstream sports are chuck full of big characters, and roller derby does not disappoint. It is not just make-up and fishnets that define big characters: it’s the heart, soul, blood and tears that they pour into their work. Big characters in derby are the big hits, the big jams, and acrobats on skates.
You might find a new love
Derby girls and refs have to come from somewhere. Often, they come from the audience. Whether super fan, or first time to a bout, fans are the future of roller derby. Even if you never skate, your support is vital to your league. Derby News Network is a great online source to watch derby around the world, and Flat Track Stats can help any derby enthusiast stay on top of their game.
It’s just plain FUN
The excitement is infectious. Regardless of your familiarity with the sport, the skill and strength of roller derby pulls you in. It is impossible to resist cheering as your jammer breaks through the pack, or hop past a big hit. The more you learn about your league, the more fun you will have each bout.
If you have been pushing off attending a roller derby bout, it’s time to get off of Facebook and go. Friends, excitement, and real social networks await you at the rink. Youtube offers some great fan tutorials or learn as you go! You’ll be cheering more than at a feel good movie, and you’ll get closer to the action than nosebleed seats at Lincoln Financial.