Modern Roller Derby
Today’s flat track roller derby is a legitimate sport, and the hits, spills, and competition are all 100% real. The fast-paced action, body checks, and whip assists are all still very much part of the game. However, flat track rules and the different physics of skating on a flat surface, versus a banked track, make the strategies and game play very different. Punching, tripping, and blocking from behind are illegal, as are elbowing, clothes-lining, and cutting the track. Just like any other contact sport, there are strict rules and penalties for such infractions. A small army of referees is required to enforce the rules, which are in place to protect the athletes’ safety and preserve fairness. Protective gear is required for all skaters and referees, and both skaters and referees are required to pass a minimum skills assessment in order to participate in sanctioned bouts.
Leagues are typically non-profit organizations run by the skaters themselves. A successful league requires hours of volunteer work from skaters, referees, and non-skating officials alike. Leagues may consist of one or several teams that may or may not travel on a national scale. The DIY spirit that drives the sport allows roller derby leagues to create their own unique identities and adapt their structures to reflect their local communities.