The sport of roller derby has been around since the 1930s. Back then, it resembled a World Wrestling Entertainment match, with made-up rivalries and fake crashes. Fast-paced bouts (two 30-minute periods) were conducted on banked tracks.
Roller derby is different today. Teams of five women compete on a flat track and, more often than not, there is more of a spirit of camaraderie than rivalry. Gone are the fake crashes, replaced with real checks, bruises and occasional broken bones. Roller Derby isn't for the faint of heart.
Points are scored when one team's "jammer" pushes her way through the pack. Sometimes she can lap the pack multiple times during a two-minute "jam," scoring more points. On her way through the pack she must avoid getting pushed to the ground or shoved off the track.
A Dec. 7 bout, titled 'Twas the Fight Before Christmas, pitted Orange Crush (the B-Team of Anchorage's Rage City Rollergirls) against Mat-Su's Boom Town Derby Dames. Orange Crush won 206-142.
Roller Derby came to Alaska in 2007 when Rage City was founded. It's grown steadily since, with teams emerging in Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak, Wasilla and Juneau.
Every player plays offense and defense. But for women who skate, it's more than a sporting event; it's a chance to support a diverse group of women, empower them to succeed, and have fun.
Women interested in learning more about the sport, and possibly participating, should head to the Rage City Rollergirls' recruitment social 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Steam Dot Coffee in Anchorage's Sears Mall.
Contact multimedia editor Loren Holmes at loren(at)alaskadispatch.com.