Over 10 years in the making, Providence Roller Derby has continued to grow and inspire women of all ages not only to feel empowered, but step out of their everyday lives and try something fun and competitive. Full-time mothers, students, nurses, lawyers, teachers, soldiers, and many others from all different backgrounds have joined both home and travel teams of the non-profit league. The call is now out to find the next new batch of skaters – both players and officials!
“This is a full contact sport; there is a huge amount of athleticism that goes into playing roller derby. It’s not all tutus and fishnets (although we all have our fair share of them both),” said head coach of recruitment Smashley Olsen. “You never know, this could be your niche. We know it is ours!”
On Monday, May 2, you can learn more at PRD’s Meet & Greet at Murphy’s Bar & Deli in Providence at 7pm. At previous Meet & Greets, common concerns involving the physicality and the costs of roller derby come up.
“They need to work on cardio and strength training before they get on skates. The hardest part of the non-contact session is skating 25 laps in 5 minutes,” said Smashley. “We encourage all recruits to work on their athleticism outside of our class.” Of course, this is off-skates, as they will teach you how to skate – and skate the right way.
Skates and equipment, like any other sport, does come with a price tag, but Smashley provides the best shopping strategy. “We suggest purchasing gear that doesn’t break the bank for your first set. Trust us, you will upgrade within two years to your dream pair,” said Smashley. Always recommended is the “fresh meat” packages sold by Bruised Boutique, a shop specializing in roller derby gear.
Once new skaters get rolling on the track, they are very welcomed by the veterans. “My greatest concern in joining the league was that I was not going to fit in or that it would not be a welcoming sport,” said new skater Poison Berry. “Much to my surprise, each and every skater has welcomed me in without issue and has been approachable if I am ever in need of guidance on the track or emotional support off the track.”
PRD hosts two recruitment semesters every year. The semesters run from May to October, then October to April. The first 10 weeks is about learning the basic skating skills and safety, which involves an optional, but strongly encouraged, Skills Clinic. The next 10 weeks include weekly practices focusing on specific skills such as hitting, leaning, whips and strategy. Once a skater is ready, a final assessment is done on skill, rule knowledge and a scrimmage.
If you want to know more about being a skater, a referee or non-skating official, go to the Providence Roller Derby Recruitment Facebook page or ProvidenceRollerDerby.com.