Even if you don’t fall in love with a bleach blonde Roller Derby Queen like Jim Croce once sung about, Revolution Roller Derby is a fun way to experience some eight wheeled- action packed excitement (either in the rink or from the sidelines) and give back to the community at the same time.
On January 15th, 2017, the skating rink of Spinnations Skating Center was full of activity. Upbeat music played throughout the building as skaters zoomed past audience members. The sounds of cheering, of players falling against the paneled floor, of roller skates skidding and brakes squealing echoed throughout the center.
The event which took place was a bout organized by Revolution Roller Derby - a local roller derby league which includes the all women’s team known as The Rolling Valkyries and the co-ed team called Mom & Pop’s Militia. Skaters from around Florida participated in this scrimmage.
I had the opportunity to speak with the Secretary of and skater with Revolution Roller Derby, Stacey Coonts (whose skater name is Scarlet Scourge). She helped me understand the rules of the game a bit better, which is a bit beyond the scope of this article.
Basically, members from the two teams compete on the track together, using offensive and defensive tactics at the same time. There’s a total of 5 skaters from each team on the track - 1 Jammer, 1 Pivot, and 3 Blockers. Jammers are skaters who have what is called a “star panty” on their helmet, and whose job it is to earn points for their team.
Ms. Coonts admitted that roller derby is confusing when you’re watching it for the first time, but offered some useful and helpful advice: “If you’re new to derby, my best suggestion is to just watch the Jammers, watch the Jammers on both teams. Because the Blockers are going to be doing strategy, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff there to watch, but when you’re new to it that’s where the action is- with the Jammer. The Jammers are the ones hitting people and getting hit, and that’s where the point scoring is happening… First game, just focus on the people with the stars.”
I also had the opportunity to speak to Rose Frizzle (skater name “Boots”), founder, skater and volunteer with Revolution Roller Derby. She, helped to provide a better insight into the sense of community that Revolution Roller Derby provides, and how it helps individuals work together.
“It [roller derby] helped me understand that not everybody is going to think the same, there’s all different backgrounds, but we’re all working as a team. So they all have a common goal, which is, in a sense… very inspirational,” Ms. Frizzle said. She also explained that they do have a women's only league and a junior’s league in addition to the co-ed league.
“There’s always a place for someone to start,” she said. She also explained that if someone isn’t interested in skating, immediately, there are other ways to be involved, such as becoming an announcer.
Ms. Frizzle emphasized that Revolution Roller Derby strives to support the community. “We’re a 501c3. We give back to the community tenfold. Typically, what we like to do is have a charity for every home game,” she said.
According to their website, organizations they’ve worked with in the past, include Pasco Metropolitan Ministries, Pasco Foster and Adoption, and Toys for Tots.
“Whatever it is that we have going on, we’ve got committees that work with charities, community outreach, so, it’s bigger than just skating,” explained Ms. Frizzle.
For individuals who are interested in joining, there is no experience needed. One doesn’t even need to know how to skate. Both, Ms. Frizzle and Ms. Coonts, explained that they’ll work with individuals to teach them what they need to know, with Ms. Frizzle adding, “it’s about a year learning curve.”
After the bout, the MVPs were announced, which included Christopher H., Meowch, Vanity Feral, and Scarlet Scourge.
For information about getting involved with Revolution Roller Derby, the rules of the sport, and more, you can visit their website at http://www.revolutionrollerderby.com/.
Spinnations Skating Center is located at 8345 Congress St, Port Richey, FL 34668, and their website is http://www.spinnationsskate.com/.