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Today's Roller Derby

Updated on January 16, 2018

The South Shore Roller Girls

I recently attended a roller derby match in Hammond, Indiana at the Hammond Civic Center located at 5825 S Sohl Avenue. I brought along my wife and two-year-old son and I have to say we all enjoyed ourselves.

The South Shore Roller Girls faced off against the Chicago Outfit, another well-respected roller derby team. There were two matches that were played against one another. The first bout was played by the more inexperienced players, maybe In equivalent to a junior-varsity high school squad. Then, after a short intermission, the second bout was played with the more experienced and highly physical players.

Roller Derby

The Chicago Outfit (white) vs. The South Shore Roller Girls (blue) at the Hammond Civic Center located at 5825 S Sohl Avenue in Hammond, Indiana.
The Chicago Outfit (white) vs. The South Shore Roller Girls (blue) at the Hammond Civic Center located at 5825 S Sohl Avenue in Hammond, Indiana. | Source

Origins/A Brief Bio

The original concept of roller derby has been around since the 1930's. But to ask "Who?" came up with the idea of roller derby...? That's a difficult question. However, in the 1940's, it was roller derby legends Leo Seltzer & Damon Runyon who are credited with how roller derby is played today.

Roller derby had millions of fans gathered together in arenas all over the country; all over the world, to see their favorite teams battle it out. With its huge following, greedy entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to take advantage of its loyal fans which eventually led to scripted events.

Eventually, roller derby become more of a theatrical event than a competitive sport. Scripted events soon became the norm and its enthusiastic spectators were soon turned off. It wasn't until in recent decades that roller derby started to get back to its "original concept" and is currently being considered to be in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Although the sport is dominated by all-female amateur players, there is a growing number in amateur all-male leagues, unisex & junior leagues as well.

Roller Derby is a Full Contact Sport

Roller Derby is a full contact sport and its strict officiating is undoubtedly appreciated.
Roller Derby is a full contact sport and its strict officiating is undoubtedly appreciated. | Source

Roller Derby Rules

The rules in roller derby are fairly easy to understand. It's what you "can & can't do" to accomplish your goal is what makes it difficult, interesting and fun!

Roller derby is played by two teams of up to fourteen players, who both field up to five members for each two-minute jam, simultaneously skating counterclockwise on a circuit track. Each team designates a scoring player (the "jammer"); the other four members are "blockers." One blocker can be designated as a "pivot"—a special blocker who is allowed to become a jammer in the course of play. The jammer wears a helmet cover bearing two stars; the pivot wears a striped cover; the remaining members' helmets are uncovered.

The bout is played in two periods of 30 minutes. Point scoring occurs during "jams" and can last up to two minutes. During a jam, points are scored when a jammer on a scoring pass (every pass a jammer makes through the pack after the initial pass) laps members of the opposing team. Each team's blockers use body contact, changing positions, and other tactics to assist its jammer to score while hindering the opposing team's jammer. Certain types of blocks and other play are violations; referees call penalties and require violators to serve time in a penalty box.


Do you think you could get into ROLLER DERBY if it more easily accessible?

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A South Shore Roller Girl

A Chicago Outfit Roller Girl


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