Sports Spotlight: Roller Derby

Sports Spotlight: Roller Derby

Amelia Harrison, Senior Staff

Roller Derby is a high contact sport that requires agility, strength, control, speed and communication. This sport can be highly dangerous, but with the right protection and training it can be really fun and be that rush of adrenaline that can make your day. Not only the game itself, but other things like your uniform and roller derby nickname is fun as well and make the team more unique. A roller derby name is a clever name that can based off your real name or can show how tough you really are.

But roller derby wasn’t the rambunctious sport it is today. Roller derby was created in 1935 by a man named Leo A. Seltzer in Chicago, Illinois. Then by early August, 50 skaters had been selected to compete in 25 female teams. Then later on in 1937, the game changed to be more physical than it had been originated. In the 1940’s the sport had taken off and started to get a lot more popular. Currently, the sport is popular in the OC and Long Beach area.

Each team has a single point scorer called the Jammer and there job is to lap as many opposing skaters as they can. The rest of the skaters work on offense and defense at the same time by blocking the other team’s Jammer or to clear the path of their own Jammer.  Jammers will have they will have a star on their helmet and the person with a stripe on their helmet is called the Pivot. The pivot is the commonly the pack leader and defensive play caller, a lot like football’s middle linebacker position.

Once the whistle is blown the pack and Jammers are allowed to engage in each other. The first lap the Jammers earn no points but the first Jammers to pass each blocker on the other team and clear the pack is called the Lead Jammer. But there is no Lead Jammer if they both commit fouls on the first lap. If they are sent to the penalty box during the jam they no longer have the status as Lead Jammer.

I asked a Dana student, Nicole Davis, about their opinion on this sport and they said, “I’m totally down to watch a roller derby tournament and it seems really fun. Although volleyball is more of my kind of sport I would still consider trying it out.”

What makes this more unique than others is the fact that it helps women empower each other. This is a sport known as strong independent women working together as a team. But you should also know there are male and unisex teams and they deserve just enough love and support as the female teams.


Roller derby is a fun contact sport that you should consider joining even if you’re scared. With the right mindset and determination you can play too.