From Derby History to Being Ranked #109 in the world!

When people first learn there is a roller derby league in town, or they meet someone who plays roller derby, they often get a surprised look on their face and mention where they first heard of Roller Derby – usually referencing something on TV in the 1970’s. But did you know that modern day roller derby has beginnings that stretch all the back to the Great Depression? 

Roller derby evolved from team roller skating races in the early 20th century. During the Great Depression, these races were travelling shows that went from town to town. In the late 1930’s, skaters began hitting each other in an effort to pass skaters on the other team. This led to the evolution of something close to a modern version of roller derby.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, roller derby became a televised spectator sport. Though the rules were similar to today’s roller derby, the game was played on a banked track. The hits and falls were exaggerated to make the game more exciting for television audiences. This version of roller derby eventually fell out of popularity and died in the early 1970’s.

There were several attempts to revive the sport of roller derby, but none really took off until the early 2000’s, when a group of female skaters in Austin, Texas reinvented roller derby. They created rules to allow the game to be played on a flat track and turned roller derby into a legitimate competitive sport.

In 2004, the United Leagues Coalition formed, creating a single organization for flat track roller derby teams. The ULC had its first meeting in 2005 and changed its name to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). WFTDA sets rules for the game, groups teams into regions, and organizes playoffs and championship tournaments.

WFTDA also ranks teams. WFTDA team rankings are updated monthly from January through June, then bi-monthly until the end of the year. The typical derby season ends in late August, with WFTDA playoffs and championships for different divisions running through September-November.

The Cape Fear Roller Girls were ranked 109 out of 307 WFTDA-ranked teams at the end of the 2016 season. We want to make the Cape Fear Roller Girls one of the best teams in the world, and we’re committed to climbing the rankings and making it into the top 100 in the 2017 season!

Article written by Maulibu Barbie

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