20 August 2012
Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to be invited to the latest roller derby involving the Liverpool Roller Birds. Not knowing anything about this corner of life, and not being a huge sports fan, I went along just to see what it was like. And I am glad I did. This was a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon.
It did take me a while to work out how the sport works, but once I did I was cheering them along. The pivot and blockers, from both teams form a pack and start skating on the first whistle. On the second whistle the jammers start. The aim is for the jammers to pass the opposing teams blockers and get through the pack as quickly as they can. Once a jammer laps the pack, she begins to score one point for each opposing blocker she passes. It is fast and furious and above all good natured fun.
Two things about the day struck me more than anything. The women in both teams were so confident and athletic, they looked beautiful, all shapes, sizes, colours and ages racing round, lighter and more agile on their skates than I am in a pair of sensible shoes. Despite the cartoon names and make up, there was no doubt I was in the company of a lot of very strong women, just doing what they enjoy, inspiring. The second highlight was just how friendly everyone was. Although there was some rivalry between the teams, this was strictly for the track, the rest of the time everyone mixed and chatted to each other, and smiles were plentiful.
If you are interested in learning more about this unusual sport you can contact the Liverpool Roller Birds on www.liverpoolrollerbirds.co.uk.