Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

'Rugby on Wheels'; Scribes Put Bodies on Line in Rollery Derby

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

'Rugby on Wheels'; Scribes Put Bodies on Line in Rollery Derby

Article excerpt

Byline: Josephine Gillespie and Felicity Caldwell

WEARING everything from mini-skirts to army pants and fish net stockings, the battle fatigues donned by the largely tattooed skaters of the Brisbane City Rollers present a fascinating spectacle.

Desperate to become one of the modern-day warriors, we laced up and apprehensively headed onto the Bundamba Skateaway rink, training with the rest of the new skaters - or "freshmeat" in derby terminology.

Not only were we slightly unfit, we had never played a contact sport before and the last time we'd donned skates, we were little more than kids.

Freshmeat skater Felicity Caldwell summed it up best when she said, "my first few awkward, wobbly glides almost landed me on the ground but, after a few minutes, all those laps of my back veranda during my youth came flooding back."

We were not alone, Kim Droney - or 'Kimmi Da Kleaver' on the rink - said the team regularly recruits new players through the freshmeat program, with skaters, male and female, ranging in age from 18-44.

Droney said the sport attracted people from all walks of life.

"We have mums, quite a few mums, people in banking, solicitors, a funeral director and I'm a graphic designer. What I love about roller derby is you meet women you might not normally meet and you come out and enjoy the sport," Droney said.

"If definitely expands your social horizons in a massive way."

Less fearsome roller derby warriors and more bundles of nerves, we ventured with trepidation onto the track, joining the other newbies in trying to gracefully fall over on our knees.

In the US, thousands flock to watch teams of women in helmets, kneepads and arm pads racing around rinks at top speed.

One player on each side tries to lap the opposing team and it's up to the others to stop her.

Two years ago, Brisbane cab driver Anita Knight, aka Evil Doll, revived roller derby and the Australian Roller Derby League was born.

After a while, Evil Doll left that league to become president of the Brisbane City Rollers, which recently relocated its base to Ipswich.

Droney said she suggested the league move to the Bundamba venue. …

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