If you are interested in roller skating and spectator sports, you will definitely enjoy the intense sport of Roller Derby, just like we do at Deptford Skating and Fun Center. This month is Roller Derby’s 80th birthday, so we thought it would be the perfect time to offer a brief history of this roller sport.
Origin of the Sport
The sport of roller derby was conceptualized and put into play by Leo Seltzer in Chicago during the 1930s. The sport was originally created as a type of marathon roller skating race for couples, male and female. However, once Seltzer took his show on the road, he and Damon Runyon came together to tweak the ‘race’ into allowing physical contact, teams, team positions, a point system, rules and even a specialty banked track (higher on the outside). The teams were made up of men and women (women playing sports was a huge spectacle at the time), and they played men vs. men and women vs. women.
Roller derby was a huge success for Leo Seltzer, until the United States officially entered World War II and the new sport found itself with a lack of players, causing a dramatic decline. Of course derby never fully went away, regaining its popularity across televisions in the 1970s; however, this form of ‘show derby’ went mainstream (teams owned by businesses/sponsors), and eventually died out.
Modern Roller Derby
Modern roller derby began increasing in popularity in the early 2000s in Austin, TX, when the Texas Rollergirls were formed. Leagues began popping up across the nation, made up of predominantly female teams using flat tracks and with a greater emphasis on the physical sport, rather than a mere spectacle of it. In 2004 the Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) was founded to govern the sport by creating standardized set of rules and membership requirements. Today hundreds of ‘official’ WFTDA roller derby leagues exist all around the world.
New Jersey Roller Derby Teams
Full Member Leagues:
- Garden State Rollergirls – Wallington, NJ
- Jersey Shore Roller Girls – Toms River, NJ
- Jerzey Derby Brigade – Morristown, NJ
- New Jersey Roller Derby – Morristown, NJ
- Shore Points Roller Derby – Williamstown, NJ
Currently there are no New Jersey Apprentice Leagues.
*****Happy 80th Birthday Roller Derby!*****
DSC offers roller sports, skating lessons, public skate sessions, camps, birthday parties and so much more in New Jersey’s Westville borough of Gloucester County. Please contact us anytime if you would like to learn more about our classes, camps, or if you are interested in booking a party of event. Our office number is 856-845-7353. We would love to hear from you!
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