Inside the fast and furious world of roller derby
- Credit: Archant
If you think roller skating is for children, think again.
Bruises and bleeding noses are all part of the routine for the borough’s roller derby team, the London Rockin Rollers, where barging the opposition off the track is not just allowed but encouraged.
The Rollers use Newham Leisure Centre as their home venue for competitions, or bouts, and Saturday saw them take on the Birmingham Blitz Dames for their final bout of the season.
One of the most noticeable things about the women who compete in roller derby is their use of often violent-sounding nicknames.
“A lot of people come up with their names based on something about themselves,” said Lydia Scott, who competes under the name Deadly Devito.
“I’m only 4 ft 10 so I wanted something based on my height.
“Others play on their real names or something that they like, such as Rebel Rebel, who’s a Bowie fan.”
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Lydia, 27, took up the sport five years ago when she watched a friend compete and wanted to try it out.
Despite having no skating experience and a self-confessed dislike of sport, she became hooked.
Lydia’s dedication to roller derby is such that she even changed her job because of it.
“I used to work in television, but the hours meant it was hard to fit training in,” she explained.
“I decided I wanted to focus on doing what I loved, so now I do an admin job instead.”
The London Rockin Rollers have five teams, two of which frequently travel across the UK and Europe.
In addition, there are three mixed ability intraleague teams who compete against each other, featuring new skaters as well as those competing in the travel teams.
“We’ve competed in Berlin, and we’ve gone to Finland as well,” said Lydia.
“It’s great as the teams are so appreciative we’ve gone over to play them and they’ll show us round their city properly, not just the tourist bits.
“Roller derby is the best way to go travelling.”
Several Rockin Rollers are heading to the USA to compete in the roller derby world cup in Dallas next month, representing a variety of countries.
For those that are set to star on the international stage, it is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to the sport.
Lydia, who intends to book a flight out to support her team mates, said: “We do about four hours of training a week, but a lot of us do extra training outside of that too.
“There’s also things like organising bouts and finding somewhere to train
that will let us skate on the floor, as a lot of places are funny about that.”
With such commitment and a hard-as-nails attitude, it seems there’s no stopping these ladies.