Anyone out there remember watching this brutally awesome sport? I do. I remember my mom watching it and sitting right beside her. She was a fan in the early 70s of the L.A. Thunderbirds (AKA) ‘L.A. T-Birds With their Green and Gold uniforms. Now I must confess although I did remember the color of the uniforms I had to look up the name of the team. I distinctly remember sitting on the floor in front of the TV I don’t think I was much older than 3 or 4 watching these women speeding around a rink bumping and slamming one another into the side rails and jumping over the ones that had fallen.
The flash of color as they sped around and around the ring was hypnotizing to me. I know a lot of the thrill I felt as a child watching this was the fact that I was watching and spending time with my mom, but I was also captivated by the ambiance of the action. when, I first learned how to skate I would pretend I was in the roller derby. I would skate into bushes and pretend it was an opponent trying to bump me. Kind of silly to think back on it now but as a kid it was exhilarating.
There was nothing like it, and I recall the thrill and anticipation when my mom would say Roller Derby was going to be on.
Then all of a sudden it was gone. I grew older and the years passed without much thought of the sport other than a mention of it now and then from my mom. I guess they tried a couple times over the years to bring it back but it just didn’t make a spark. Then a coupe of years ago I was flipping through the Channels trying to find something to watch and wow low and behold there was Roller Derby it was on MeTV. Oh, I was so excited. I sat and watched and the nostalgia was overwhelming.
This is one sport I wish would make a great come back. There was an attempt in the late 90s to bring it back with a show called Roller jam but it only lasted for about a year. Now the only place to watch Roller Derby is a YouTube channel WFTDAtv. These are all armatures. I want to see this come back as a professional sport and be on National Television. Now that I know where I can watch it I plan on watching as often as possible.
Let me explain a bit about this sport. It is played in two 30 minute periods split into 2 minute jams with a 30-second break between jams for players to rotate. Each jam has five players from each team on the rink. One Jammer ( Has a Star on their helmet) who’s job is to skate laps around the other team and four blockers who’s job it is to block the opposing teams Jammer while allowing their own blocker to advance forward. The Jammers get points for every opposing teammate they pass. Thereis a head blocker called the pivot this position may if needed switch positions with the Jammer. This is called ‘passing the star’ Since the blockers have to play both offense and defense at the same time this sport is very fast paced and full contact. In the case of a tie at the end of the bout it goes into a sudden death jam with no lead jammer.
to goal is not to just score points but to score the most points than the opposing jammer that is why It is important to be in the lead Jammer position. The lead can end the jam by putting their hand on their hip. The jammer might only pass 2 or 3 opponents and end the jam instead of passing the third opponent. This is because the opposing jammer may be in scoring position so ending the jam is better than risking your opponent passing your team and catching up the score.
This sport really gets your adrenaline pumping. According to statistics I looked up there are currently 2000 roller derby leagues spread across 53 countries and 100,000women as well as men play the sport regularly. I just don’t understand how with so many people playing this sport how it has not come back strong and become a pro sport.
If you have never heard of or watch Roller Derby might I suggest you check it out. This is one sport that will always hold a place in my heart!