Show and Tell: Roller Derby

Photo Source: wikipedia.org
Photo Source: wikipedia.org

Writer and Producer – Sydney Huddleston
Other Side Drive Producer – Shannon Williams
Editor – Fernando Espinosa de los Monteros

Click here to download Show and Tell Ep. 3

To tell you the truth, up until a few weeks ago, I really had no idea what exactly Roller Derby was. I knew it had to do with roller skating but that’s about as far as I got with it. I had no idea going into this how powerful a sport it really is. Roller Derby requires ample amounts of athletic ability, a thick skin, and a certain kind of sassy attitude. The Texas Roller Derby league originated in Austin, Texas in 2001 and has been amazing spectators ever since. Texas Roller Derby is not your typical sport. It is way more entertaining than that.

Amy West is a player for a team called the Hellcats. Amy is petite but that doesn’t hold her back during a game. She is super fast and super feisty and definitely a crowd favorite. She goes by the name, IndyJamma Jones.

Indy: You typically have your skate name, so my full name would be IndyJamma Jones but I go by Indy most of the times so I guess you could technically call that my skate nick name

There are 5 different teams in the league. This will be Indy’s second season as a Hellcat.

Indy: A typical season goes all the way through the summer and the championship is usually in September and there’s a game a couple times a month so it’s a long fun crazy season, packed full of games and parties and derby!

Even though Indy is somewhat new to the game compared to some of her teammates, you would never guess it. She is one of the most energetic and fiery girls on the rink.

Indy: When I was in high school I worked at Sonic actually and I was a roller skating carhop and then I saw Whip It when it came out and immediately knew that I had to do whatever I could to be a derby girl when I got the chance. So when I moved up to go to school in Austin, I tried out the second that I turned 21 and stuck with it ever since.

The way the game works is, there are a series of short matchups, or jams, where 5 members of each team skate in the same direction around a banked track.

There are 3 different positions:

There are Jammers – That’s the person who skates through the pack to score the points by lapping members of the opposing team.

Blockers –  Are trying to help their jammer get through the pack while keeping the opposite teams jammer from getting past them and scoring points.

Pivots – They’re typically blockers also, but they’re the leader of the pack, the person who calls the shots.

And it is full contact, so girls are always getting knocked down.

Indy: Just like football players would wear pads, we have kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmets, butt pads for some, you know, gotta cover all the bases.

The players can receive penalties for things like pushing, tripping, unnecessary roughness, among others things. And TXRD is now the only league in the world that still has minor penalty challenges, which calls for a penalty wheel! The offending skater spins the wheel that assigns them a challenge. They might have to do have a pillow fight, or arm wrestle, or play tug of war. It adds a little excitement to the sports aspect of it.

Sarah Herndon has been producing the Texas Roller Derby TV show on KCWX for three and a half years now, keeping up with every game.

Sarah: I started doing it for a job, but it’s become my favorite sport by far.

Sarah had a hard time narrowing down her favorite Derby moments but a penalty challenge featuring one of her favorite players, Dusty Doublewide, a member of the Rhinestone Cowgirls, was one of the first that came to mind.

Sarah: One time she was having a pillow fight with another girl and the other girl was a lot smaller than her but was trying to overtake her and Dusty just had this look on her face and shrugged her face like “ugh – what is she even trying to do? Cant she tell she has no power against me?” It’s just little moments like that, that I really like too.

When asked about the challenges she faces in Roller Derby, Indy didn’t hesitate with her response…

Indy: The challenges I face are that I can’t be on roller skates all the time, I still have to drive in my car and go do other things.

For more information on Roller Derby, you can check out TXRD.com.

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