The closest I’ve ever come to participating in roller derby is watching the movie, “Whip It,” but from the outside looking in, the sport, which seems to be comprised of some very tough, yet glamorous women partaking in a very rough competition, has always intrigued me.
This is why I plan to be at Mammoth Lakes Roller Rink at 11 a.m. this Saturday (event is free and open to the public), to have a chance to see the sport up close and personal, and even participate in a few drills.
The Tahoe Derby Dames will be on hand to teach attendees the basics of blocking, jamming, and the fundamentals of roller derby.
According to the mission statement on their website, the Tahoe Derby Dames are not afraid of brutal competition. “We create a safe environment for contact sport, promote an active lifestyle for women, encourage alternative sporting options for women, and are dedicated to putting on a good show.”
The group is an all-female flat track roller derby team participating in league competition. The objectives of roller derby are, in theory, somewhat simple. According to www.gothamgirlsrollerderby.com, “Each team fields a single point scoring skater (‘Jammer’) whose object is to lap as many opposing skaters as they can. The remaining skaters who aren’t scoring points work both on offense and defense at the same time, trying to block the opposing Jammer and to clear a path for their own Jammer.” You can recognize the Jammer by the star on her helmet.
Well-played roller derby requires agility, strength, speed, control, peripheral vision, communication, and teamwork.
And perhaps a little insanity; as the Tahoe Derby Dames Facebook page states, “You don’t have to be crazy, but it helps.”
According to Mammoth Lakes Roller Rink Manager, Kari Sharp, the Mammoth Recreation Department, most notably Recreation Supervisor Stephanie Daniel, has been working on getting the Dames to Mammoth since February.
“The event takes place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and is free,” Sharp said. “Everyone is invited to come watch. If you’d like to participate you need to be 14 or older and have your own protective gear.” Those under 18 need parent consent.
Sharp also suggested bringing your own skates or roller blades since there is a limited number of skate sizes at the Roller Rink, which is located next to the Mammoth Lakes Library … it’s the summer version of the ice skating rink.
While still unconfirmed at press time, Sharp said there might also be an opportunity to see the Dames at this weekend’s Margarita Festival in the Village at Mammoth.
“They may be in attendance in their gear on Friday night or Saturday after the demonstration,” Sharp said. And even if they’re not, it’s a great excuse to head up to the Village for a little tequila tasting.
The Roller Rink is open from 6-10 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday for open skate. For more information on the rink and/or Saturday’s event, call the rink at 760.934.2505.
Photo: Tahoe Derby Dames Facebook page