Roller Derby

By Mom


As a kid living in a family with lots of rules, watching roller derby on our Zenith wood-console T.V. every Saturday afternoon was a cathartic release I looked forward to, and probably needed, but didn't realize it at the time.  I liked the freeness of it all, that and the flagrant disregard for rules the competitors had.  It was every woman (I saw mostly women, although apparently men also competed) for herself, and it was cut-throat:  pushing, shoving, pulling, you name it.  "Anything goes in this sport," I remember the announcer saying in one race when one girl pulled the other's pony-tail to gain an edge on the corner.

We all had our favourites, and mine was Gwen Miller, better known as Skinny Minnie.  I loved watching her stop at nothing to win.  She was one of the fiercest competitors of all time.  Her career lasted an incredible 40 years, about 35 more than I gave her.  Wearing helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads paid off in the end, even though they looked awkward and funny at the time.  In those days seat belts in motor vehicles were not mandatory, in fact, one of ours was cut off and the other permanently lost somewhere behind the middle bench seat in our 57 Ford Fairlane.

The way to win in Roller Derby, I learned after months of watching was to earn points by passing competitors while racing around an oval banked track.  It sounds monotonous, but roller derby is far from boring.  I remember it as entertaining and above all exciting.   


The way to find out for yourself is to look up The Terminal City Rollergirls.  They compete at Minoru Arena, Vancouver Forum, and Kerrisdale Arena.  With names like Bad Reputation and Riot Girls you're bound to stumble across some excitement.


Vancouver, Richmond


All seasons