Adelaide Roller Derby (ADRD) has returned in 2019, as it continues to build a community that empowers women and creates a positive change.
The 2019 season began last month with a thrilling rematch of last year's Grand Final between the reigning champs Mile Die Club and Road Train Rollers.
Although it went down to the wire, Road Train Rollers were unsuccessful in gaining revenge for their 2018 loss. But it was nothing short of an aggressive grudge match as both teams fought for momentum to begin the season.
At first glance, roller derby seems like a sport where having an athletic background would be a handy requirement. But Debbie (aka Dusty) from Road Train Rollers doesn't believe so. “No, definitely not. It's definitely a sport for everyone.
“When you come to try-out for the league you get taught how to skate, all the rules, how to do small hits and a bit of pushing. We've had figure skaters play and other people with no sporting history as well – it's great because anyone of any shape or size can come and join in.Click here to enter to win tickets to the next Adelaide Roller Derby bout on 1 June.
“I came from a soccer background, which is jumping from a minimal-contact sport to a full contact one. So other than the endurance from soccer, I pretty much had no skating background.”
A veteran with three seasons experience, Debbie didn't know much about the sport in the beginning but still decided to give it a go. “I originally joined because I bought a pair of roller skates and didn't know what to do with them, and it just so happened ADRD were holding their Fresh Meat session [try-outs], so I registered and learnt how to skate and started from there.
“I knew nothing about the sport. I knew it existed but never went to a game. I just rocked up and said 'Hi, I emailed you guys about this. Here I am.'
“It can get pretty aggressive to some extent, the physicality is there but I wouldn't say the attitude is because at the end of the day we're playing a sport and everyone treats it like a sport.”
ADRD was established in 2007 and is Adelaide’s oldest and largest roller derby league. Comprised of approximately 110 members and a state team that ranks in the global top 70, the league's popularity has received a surge in 2019.Click here to enter to win tickets to the next Adelaide Roller Derby bout on 1 June.
“It definitely is [on the rise], the numbers did somewhat dwindle. But this is the first year in a few years where every team has the maximum amount of numbers, so it's the first year where we've had to turn away some people because we didn't have a spot for them.”
The league is a not-for-profit organisation that is owned and operated by skaters, for skaters. There is a lot to love about a sport built around community spirit.
“I love how at the end of the games you skate around the edge of the track and you give everyone a high-five, like a handshake at the end of football games.”
The next Adelaide Roller Derby bout takes place between Road Train Rollers and Wild Hearses at Adelaide Showground 1 June.