Sunday 20 October 2019

5 things you need to know about roller derby

Rachael Taylor Fawsitt

Looking for something a little different to try this autumn? Roller derby might be just the ticket.

Can you imagine joining a team sport that involves flying around a track on a pair of roller skates and possibly even travelling the world? Well, we’re here to tell you that we may have found the perfect club for you to join!

To celebrate the launch of the new Club Chunky, Jacob's is showcasing the diverse range of clubs in Ireland, starting with roller derby. They sent TV Presenter and Comedian Kevin McGahern to join the Dublin Roller Derby team, to give the sport a try. Check out how he got on below.

Looks fun, right? Could this be the club for you?

Here is everything you need to know about this exhilarating sport and how you can get involved.

What is roller derby?

According to the World Roller Games, “Speed and strategy are key aspects in this contact discipline. In it, two five-member teams turning anticlockwise compete against each other on an oval track.”

However, it is so much more than that. This sport, which involves teams competing for points while trying to avoid the human-shields that are trying to slow them down, is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it is much more suited to the excitement loving, adrenaline junkies of the world.

Each team consist of 15 players, with five players on the track at one time. Four of the skaters are called “blockers” (all four blockers together are called a “pack”), and the fifth skater is called a “jammer.” The jammer gains the points and can be identified by their helmet cover which has a star on it.

Jammers score a point for every opposing blocker they lap. They start out behind the pack and have the job of getting through the pack before they can score points against the opposing blockers.

While it is a full-contact sport, there are rules that must be followed. If a player breaks a rule, they must serve a penalty of 30 seconds out of the game.


What is a derby wife/husband?

You’ve heard of an office wife (or husband), but did you know that the same thing exists in sport? Well, in roller derby, it's the player who looks out for you on and off the track. They will always have your back and will be in your corner when you need support. Roller derby players worldwide talk about the special bond between them. It just goes to show how social this sport is for those who play. 

The World Roller Games

The competition lasts a total of 11 days and sees more than 4,000 athletes compete. All hoping to be crowned the very best in one of the 11 diverse roller games. The games include roller derby, alpine, artistic, roller freestyle, downhill, inline freestyle, inline hockey, rink hockey, scooter, speed and skateboarding.

Drew Barrymore made a movie about it

In 2009, the movie Whip It starring Ellen Page (from the hit movie Juno) graced the silver screen and helped to boost the number of people joining the sport. It was directed by none other than Hollywood royalty, Drew Barrymore.

The film is a comedy-drama, so you can take its accuracy with a pinch of salt (there may be some slight exaggerations in parts – ahem!), however it does give viewers an idea of how the game is played and includes lots of laughs along the way.

You can play it in Ireland

If you’ve read all the above and are now thinking to yourself – THIS is the sport for me! Then we have some great news. Dublin Roller Derby (DRD) is Ireland's first roller derby league and has grown to over 90 members, competing and officiating internationally.

They have three travel Teams: A Team, B Team and C Team. All three teams compete internationally and can often be found jetting off to Europe and the USA.

They also have three Father Ted themed home teams: the Eoin McShoves, the Fuppin' Baxtards and the Whack Hacketts who battle it out in a competitive home tournament every year.

Fast paced and exhilarating to play, joining a roller derby team is exactly what you need if you are looking to spice up your life and get some more exercise.

Why not get your skates on and join one of their beginner courses? You can contact them by email HERE to book your spot.

No matter what you’re into, there’s a club for you and with the launch of new Jacob’s Club Chunky, there is now a Jacob’s Club for everyone too.

To celebrate the Launch of NEW Jacob’s Club Chunky, Jacob’s visited two of Ireland’s most exciting clubs – including Dublin Roller Derby. Visit the Jacob’s Instagram to see what they got up to and to win some Clubs for YOUR club.”

Sponsored by Jacob's

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