Local Roller Derby Skaters Selected for All Australasian Team
by Jess 'Slay' Gulliver
When you hear the words “Roller Derby” you most likely think of the 2009 hit film starring Elliot Page and Drew Barrymore, Whip It and the Hollywood portrayal of Roller Derby – fishnet tights, badass women on skates doing dangerous stunts and a lot of violence. The reality of Roller Derby is something completely different. Sure, it’s fast-paced and some say that it resembles “rugby on skates without the ball”, but the rules of contact in Roller Derby are strict, with seven referees on skates needed to ensure rules are followed.
If you’ve never heard of Roller Derby before, it is a full-contact game played on roller skates where two teams of five people are on the track at any one time. The aim is for the point scorer (jammer) to score points by getting past the opposing team’s defensive skaters using their bodies, brains, and strategy. It sounds like quite a lot, but the people on the track are athletes, who spend years training their bodies to be used as shields, weapons, and blockades – all in the safest and most strategic way possible.
Whip It did get two things right – Roller Derby is a game of strategy; and the community it creates and promotes is one you won’t find anywhere else. Step into any Roller Derby team training and you’ll find lawyers, teachers, students, architects, parents, government workers, and people from all walks of life, coming together to skate and learn new skills and gameplays.
Roller Derby is a growing community in Tasmania. There are currently four teams state-wide, including Convict City Rollers, who train from their own home track, C-Block, in North Hobart. CCR welcomes children as young as five in their learn-to-skate classes, with no maximum age at which you can join.
CCR has taken their sport nationally, currently ranked 13 in the Australia Pacific region, and in 2022 took out first place in Division 2 at The Great Southern Slam tournament in Adelaide – the first tournament back after COVID. Since then, two skaters from CCR were selected for the ‘Australasian All-Stars’ team and flew to Melbourne to play against the best players nationwide. In February 2023, a further six skaters were selected to play on the World Team at Sydney World Pride, with two CCR players being awarded the Most Valuable Player.
Roller Derby is a small community in Tasmania, but it packs a mighty punch with players often committing their time to advocate for issues close to their hearts. You will frequently see teams at the Pride March, at Invasion Day Rallies, and supporting the trans community and equal rights for all humans and animals.
Roller Derby is a safe space for all, no matter your age, gender, sexuality, body shape, socio-economic or parental status – everyone is welcome. You can go anywhere in the world with Roller Derby and be welcomed to a training session with the local team and immediately have new friends and family.