Give it a Go Girl – Roller Derby


Humans weren’t born with wheels on their feet and for good reason.

I also wasn’t born with a natural desire to wear hot pink short shorts and constantly fall over, but I was at the Nelson Roller Sports rink to give roller derby a go, regardless.

I am on the shorter side of average, not your most coordinated or aggressive person and the last person you’d ever think to call a badass.

Walking through the rink doors to find Nelson’s infamous Sirens of Smash training definitely reaffirmed all that.

Place Makers Ad Give it a Go GirlGoing into this, I thought derby was for tough chicks with ripped fishnet tights, lots of mascara and a healthy dose of aggression they wanted to work off by smashing another team.

Turns out they are actually geniuses because, somehow, defying all laws of physics on their tiny little wheels, they manage to whip round the track faster than Scott Dixon whilst also dodging, jumping, and bowling over the opposition.

It was quite apparent that, from the word go, the Sirens of Smash were legends, while I was merely a muppet, and unfortunately for me.

For those of you who haven’t been to a game or watched the film ‘Whip It’, roller derby works like this: both teams have five players on the track, four blockers and one jammer.

The aim is simple, the jammer starts at the back and has to get in front of the other team’s jammer and through all the blockers. She then speeds around the track and laps as many of the other team’s blockers as possible, getting points as she does.

Blockers have two jobs, clear the path for their jammer and block the other team’s jammer, and needless to say a fair amount of pushing, shoving and elbowing goes into it. Now that all seems pretty straightforward unless, like me, you can barely move around on skates.

Granted, the last time I laced a pair of skates to my feet was in 1999, but I figured that if I did it then, I could do it now.

Oh, how wrong I was. I couldn’t sprint, stop, turn or jump higher than 2cm, let alone knock around the other team and be of some use to my own.

This is the worst I’ve ever been at a Give It A Go Girl challenge.

I was so bad they wouldn’t let me anywhere near a bout, so instead I watched them attack the track from the sidelines, longing to be as badass and coordinated as they were.

I didn’t even get a chance to put my toughness to the test and these girls are tough. Tiny artistic skater by day and Sirens of Smash jammer by night, Hayley ‘Bashful’ Nam told me she’d accidentally broken her teammates rib in a training session.

While I wasn’t exactly putting my hand up for breaking my first bone, the competitor in me wanted to go out there and prove I could jam with the best of them.

Much to my disappointment, my uncoordinated limbs let me down and I remain ‘fresh meat’, not yet worthy to jam with the Sirens. However, I did get to skate around the track with the team a few times, but much to their amusement it was at granny pace and they had to grab my elbows occasionally to stop me falling over.

If you want a chance to see the Sirens of Smash in action, head to Tahunanui’s Nelson Roller Sports rink this Saturday, October 8 at 7pm, for their clash against the Hellmilton Roller Ghouls from Hamilton.