I went to my first roller derby last night. It was an all-women event, which I know stating it was all women may seem redundant, but the home team last night actually has men's and women's roller derby because they believe you should be able to participate "no matter what kind of plumbing you have."
I did not know what to expect really having only acquired snippets of information (mostly in the form of images) of roller derby over the years.
The main differences I found (between my hodgepodge collection of memories and the reality) was that this was flat track roller derby, it was not as fast, and there was not as much contact as I expected.
This was disappointing. The group is kind of new so part of the lack of action and speed may be skill level and not reflect all roller derby. Most of the time they looked a little shaky and though I know there was strategy involved it seemed more like luck than skill when a team scored a point.
What I did learn was that, yes, there is scoring and there is strategy. And the scoring and strategy was taken seriously--it was not just a front for having women on roller skates in short skirts and shorts.
This, along with the variety of body types that are welcomed in roller derby, was encouraging. The variety of people who show up to watch roller derby also reflects the wide appeal of the sport.
Unfortunately the execution of the event, from the lousy PA system to the poor set-up of the gymnasium that limited the action one was able to see, and the not exactly high skill level of the participants made for a frustrating evening.