August 28, 2014
Filed Under South Tahoe Events
Blending athleticism, finesse, thrills and spills, Tahoe Roller Derby has taken hold in South Lake Tahoe.
Don’t miss the 3rd Annual Deep Blue Roller Derby Tournament, at Bijou Park 8:30am – 5:00pm on Saturday, Sept 13; 9:00 am-4:00pm on Sunday, Sept 14, 2014.
Check out the high altitude skating excitement when Sister Slayer and the dames, lead by coach Jack Hammer (Mark Brown), compete in their home bouts listed on their website.
Are you longing for the support and camaraderie of a team? Do you drive like you are playing a game of frogger? Or are you just bored of watching tv? Then skate with the Tahoe Derby Dames! They are always looking for new skaters, referees, and non-skating officials. Get involved in the roller derby community!
About Lake Tahoe Roller Dames
So how did roller derby get so popular in the South Shore? Tahoe Derby Dame Jenn Gleckman, La Jenn Fatale, explains the appeal:
When Roller Derby Came to Tahoe
In early 2008, two local women saw the opportunity to blend athleticism with entertainment in a mountain community rife with athletes. Together they founded the Tahoe Derby Dames, Lake Tahoe’s first flat-track roller derby league. Over the past 2 years, the team has grown to approximately 30 skaters, and is currently in its second season of competition.
Roller derby has been around in various iterations for years. You might remember watching derby teams like the Bay Bombers on TV, or going to a local bout in the 70s. Heck, if you’re old enough, you might even remember the early days of derby, when it was actually roller skating races.
While derby’s been around since the 1930s, its latest resurgence, which occurred in the early 2000s, emphasizes athleticism, teamwork and empowerment over theatrics. In just a few years, roller derby teams, or ‘leagues’, formed all over the country, including Northern California and Nevada.
Armed with quad skates, helmets, kneepads, wristguards, elbow pads and mouth guards, the Tahoe Derby Dames practice 3 times a week at Bijou Community Park, working on skating and footwork skills, derby drills and scrimmages. Before she can bout, a skater learn how to fall correctly (forward, on the kneepads, as opposed to backwards on your butt and back), give a hit, take a hit, give a whip, weave through the pack, and stop. It’s hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun.
The rules of the game
A roller derby game is called a bout. It is broken down into two thirty-minute periods. Each period consists of 2 minute jams, separated by a thirty-second break. In a jam, each team has 4 blockers and one jammer. Together the two teams make up the pack. The object is for the team to get its jammer through the pack first, so she becomes lead jammer, thus able to score points as she skates around the track and through the pack once again. At the same time, the team’s blockers must prevent the other jammer from getting through. This is not always as easy as it sounds.
So, what’s the appeal?
For those of us who grew up in the 1970s, lacing up roller skates evoke memories of shooting the duck, bad movies involving Linda Blair (I’m talking Roller Boogie), and fun. Secondly, derby is a serious sport. Between skating fast, learning the rules and plays, and trying to stay upright while giving or taking a hit, you’ve got to be alert, focused and in the moment. After a two hour practice, you’re simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated. Finally, there aren’t many contact sports available to women. Knocking other women down while wearing roller skates and, in some cases, fishnets, is a great way to work off the stresses of everyday life.
But don’t take my word for it. The best way to understand the excitement and thrill of roller derby is to attend a bout. Family friendly girl-on-girl roller derby action – what are you waiting for?
For more information, visit the Dames online at www.laketahoederbydames.com.
All photos by Hoodoo Photography.