Secrets and techniques of Roller Derby

When sports promoter Leo Seltzer got the thought to organize a roller skating marathon in 1935, he in all probability didn’t anticipate that his event would offer the idea for a fledgling sport often known as roller derby. These early contests had skaters circling a track for hundreds of miles over a period of a month to test their endurance; the current incarnation is more of a contact sport that includes players defending—or blocking—a player known as a “jammer” who is making an attempt to skate past the opposing workforce for points.

A well-liked sport through the Nineteen Fifties and 1960s, derby briefly lost a few of its luster when a bit of the theatricality often present in professional wrestling made its solution to the tracks to bolster television rankings within the 1970s. While as we speak’s derby nonetheless maintains a few of that showmanship—players often compete underneath pseudonyms like H.P. Shovecraft—you’d be unsuitable to characterize its players as anything less than severe and decided athletes. Mental Floss requested a number of rivals in regards to the game, the hazards of Velcro, and the etiquette of sending get-well cards to opponents with damaged bones.

Derby gamers trying to erase the image of the scantily-clad occasions of the ‘70s generally bemoan the continued use of aliases, but there’s a sensible reason for keeping that tradition going. In line with Elektra-Q-Tion, a participant in Raleigh, North Carolina, pseudonyms may help athletes stay protected from overzealous fans. “It’s sort of like being a C-degree movie star,” she says. “Some gamers can have stalkers. I have a few fans that may be a bit of aggressive. Utilizing ‘Elektra-Q-Tion’ helps keep a separation there. In the event that they know my real name, they can find out the place I live or work.”

For a lot of gamers, derby is as much a social outlet as a physical one—but conferences outside of the track can typically be awkward. Because of the equipment and constant motion, it can be hard to register facial options for later reference. “You don’t really get the opportunity to see them move like a traditional individual,” Elektra-Q-Tion says. “Folks can determine me because I’m really tall, but if somebody comes up and says we’ve played, I have to try this thing where I hold my hand up over their head [to mimic their helmet] and go, ‘Oh, it’s you.’”

Extreme focus, core engagement, and different elements of the game usually conspire to make gamers somewhat less than photogenic. “‘Derby face’ is common,” says Barbie O’Havoc, a player from the J-Town Roller Girls in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. “You’re fairly centered on making an attempt to not fall over or get beat up.”

Hours of follow in skates usually precedes an unfortunate fate for feet. “Your ft develop into pretty gross,” Elektra-Q-Tion says. “Folks generally say it’s because skates don’t fit proper, but it may well happen with custom skates. You get callmakes use of, your toenails get worn and fall off, your bones shift, you get fallen arches. One time a physician thought I had MRSA. He actually recoiled from my foot. I had a blister on my blister.”

Flying, crashing our bodies skating at velocity will become closely bruised, with gamers sporting black eyes and enormous-scale blemishes. If they need to seek medical attention when something is damaged, those superficial marks typically increase suspicion. “The first question folks will ask is, ‘Are you okay?’” says Elektra-Q-Tion. “As soon as, my husband took me to the emergency room because I had damaged my hand. The nurse asked him to go away the room and asked me, ‘Did he do this to you?’”