by Joy Stixx, director of Southampton City Rollers.
Did you know Southampton has a roller derby team and they are recruiting now? Southampton City Rollers (affectionately known as SC*R) would love you to get involved.
So you may be asking ‘What is Roller Derby’? Well it’s a fast and fabulous full-contact sport played on roller skates by two teams on a track. Each team has one player, the ‘jammer’ who can score points by lapping the players of the opposing team who will be trying to block them. However their team mates can help by ‘hitting’ the other teams ‘blockers’ out of the way. Needless to say it’s fun both to play and to watch.
But roller derby is also a community. It is supportive and inclusive, often attracting people who dreaded P.E. at school. You don’t need to be able to skate or consider yourself athletic. SC*R have a rookies programme to teach you how to skate and play roller derby safely and at a pace which suits you.
So why do current members of SC*R love the sport?
Katie Jay, who joined the rookies course earlier this year, says: “I love that I can’t be thinking of anything else when I’m playing Derby. When I’m thinking about balance, skills, other people, rules there is no room for my anxiety. It’s keeping fit while feeling like you’re kicking butt when you hit someone just right or when you score some points against tough opponents.
“My team is so encouraging and inclusive and I trust their advice and praise when I feel like I’m not doing my best. I love the fear factor and that I’ve learnt so much since I started in January but I’ve got so much left to learn”.
Shannon Holland has been playing roller derby for ten years. “I started playing roller derby in my teens as a person who’d never really found a sport I enjoyed, when my best friend asked me along,” says Shannon.
“I immediately fell in love with derby. It was the most inclusive space I had been in when it came to sports, and the only time I’d felt confident in doing something active. Attending roller derby quickly became my favourite thing to do. I’ve loved roller derby now for about ten years and I hope to continue playing for many more!”
Spring Wise joined the team six years ago and now helps run the team. “Roller derby took me from someone who believed they could never compete in sport, never speak in front of a group and never ‘fit in’, to someone who travelled internationally to play, and became head coach of a team of dozens of people I’m proud to call my friends,” says Spring.
Joy Richardson, who joined the team seven years ago and couldn’t even stand up on skates at first but now travels to other teams to referee their games, says “I love how Roller Derby can give you so many opportunities off skates and also for those who want to be involved on skates but not the full contact element. I’ve had great experiences as a Non-Skating Official all over the country including at the Roller Derby World Cup and also as an on-skates referee, most recently at the Eastbourne Extreme festival. It’s really fun being involved but also gives you the chance to watch games with the best view.”
- Women and non-binary folk over 18 are welcome to join SC*R (there are other local leagues for under 18s and for men). Doors are open for new members throughout October. Drop them a Facebook Message or email email@example.com for more details.
- In Common is not for profit. We rely on donations from readers to keep the site running. Could you help to support us for as little as 25p a week? Please help us to carry on offering independent grass roots media. Visit: https://www.patreon.com/incommonsoton