Make way for roller derby resurgence

Competitive sports are among the most popular forms of entertainment in the world.

Sometimes a sport is more heavily weighted on the entertainment aspect rather than competition. In either situation, the physical demands on participants can be dramatic. This is certainly the case with roller derby.

Originating in the mid-western United States in the 1920s, roller derby is now undergoing a resurgence among fitness-minded women who demand excitement as part of their work outs. The athletic aspect of the sport demands excellent balance, strength and stamina. The entertainment side is pure fun for participants and audience.

A team consists of five “derby girls” on the track at any time. Points are scored when a player who is designated as a jammer is able to lap opposing players. This can only be done during a two minute period known as a jam.

Like all skating sports, core body strength is essential for success in roller derby. Each hour of participation burns approximately 400 calories. In addition to leg strength required for skating, upper body fitness is necessary to block opponents.

Cardiovascular stamina is a big factor in withstanding the 20-minute periods of skating, blocking and maneuvering. Strategy plays an important role in success. Players must be aware of offensive and defensive opportunities.

Debra Frank is a nurse from Mystic who recently decided to follow a childhood dream of joining a roller derby team. She began by trying out for the Connecticut Roller Girls this spring and is one of only seven new recruits.

“Roller derby attracts people from all walks of life, levels of education and ethnicities who wish to participate in a sport that allows you to step out of your current existence and into an alter ego,” said Frank.

Roller derby is certainly not a conventional sport, but it provides an excellent outlet for women to get in shape, relieve life’s frustrations and enjoy the
camaraderie of others.

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