What is it ?
Roller Derby is a fast paced, full contact, team sport played on quad skates on an oval ‘track’ which requires speed, strategy and athleticism. This is mainly a women’s sport.
“ Since 2009, this is the sport that has the highest growth rate worldwide. “
Born in the United States during the Great Depression, it was rollerblades marathons open to all where it was possible to win big prizes, which greatly participated in popularity, at a time when money was scarce. To maximize their chances of winning, the less skilled skaters did not hesitate to shake their competitors to make them fall. Women proved particularly adept at this and spectators were fond, which attracted the attention of a man, Leo Seltzer, sports promoter, which then invented the rules of Roller Derby in 1937.
Sport experiencing strong popularity in the United States until the 70’s. The oil crisis no longer allows teams to travel to competitions, and in addition it is revealed that the games are rigged to create the show! Roller derby becomes obsolete …
Austin, Texas. Early 2000. A group of girls near the circles punk, rockabilly, diy and feminist resuscitates sport and inculcates values and real rules. Modern roller derby was born.
What are the rules ?
Is played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track. Game play consists of a series of short match ups (jams) in which both teams designate a jammer who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams at- tempt to hinder the opposing jammer while assisting their own jammer in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously.
More than sports, roller derby has its own world and its own values.
In Roller Derby there is fairplays and solidarity values which are summed up in two phrases: “Do it yourself” (Performs by your own), “For the skaters, by the skaters”. which gives him an independence and an important emancipatory power. We can express themselves and find a place other than the unique sport performance. Roller Derby is a sport in expansion, the teams often have no space to accommodate them. But these girls take control and do not expect the institutions that care for them. They organize everything by themselves: the games, the trainings, recruitment, boot- camps. Adherents do not place as simple consumers of an activity, but as full participants to the radiation roller derby locally, nationally and internationally.
Roller derby is today undoubtedly a sport that wants feminist, where players must provide a certain level athletic, cash- ing shots and often quite sharp falls, but is also an opportunity to its approrier own body and sexuality. On the track, no discrimination is allowed, whatever your religion, your sexual orientation, your ideologies, everyone is the same and accepted. Also all body types are welcome and each of its usefulness.
Through your personality, your out t, you can play on traits and claim that you really are, which holds you in heart. That’s why everyone can recognize themselves in this universe
The world of Roller Derby is the quads, knee pads, helmet, but also tights, tight sequined shorts and nicknames emphasizing sexual puns to consonance, comic, and / or warrior. Women found it with all types of physical, with all kinds of interests and parallel activities, which have in common to have a plural vision of femininity, and are ready to face the violence of the sport contact.
The roller-derby, or how to show that being a woman does not constitute a weakness.
To know :
In Egypt :
The number of Egyptian women claiming to have been sexually assaulted in recent years? 99.3% (according to a UN study). And number of Egyptian men admit to have already committed sexual assaults? 86%. In a context of horrendous violence against women – and in a society which hitherto guaranteed the rapists impunity feminism in Egypt is now more than a crusade is another Arab revolution.
Rather than be daunted and be dominated by fear, some Egyptian women have decided to take the matter into their own hands and fight back. They are now twenty practicing roller-derby. An almost exclusively female sport and long way far from the clichés about the subject. But in Egypt it is more than just sport.
The simple creation of such a particular sport is a struggle. The “CaiRollers” was established in Cairo in 2011. And not without difficulties as explained Susan aka Nofeartity player and co-founder of the Egyptian club.
“It was not easy to impose this sport” “Initially, we met in the evening at the sports center of al-Gazeera, which was frequented by men playing football or basketball. Suddenly everyone stopped and turned our way. They laughed at us, the way we dress or our falls, not even understand what it was … the cars stopped to whistle us or launch derogatory remarks. “
But Susan and her team-mates have persevered. And attitudes around them began to change. Beyond its symbolic character, the contact side of the roller-derby particularly attractive in an environment were the simple fact of being a woman can be problematic. It can turn into self-defense sports to better prepare for a possible aggression. In a society where the harassment of women is a scourge, the roller- derby acquires another meaning. It’s not just sports …
by Juliette Caron