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Brighton girls' roller derby celebrates fourth anniversary
12:00pm Friday 14th February 2014 in News
Roller derby is a women’s full contact sport, played by two teams of five players, all on roller skates.
The Rockers is a team of 23 bold Brighton girls who are currently eighth in the UK Roller Derby Association rankings.
At one of their rigorous Monday night sessions at the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove women of all shapes and sizes are being catapulted across the floor in all directions, only to leap to their feet again without a second thought.
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A lot of the women who play have an edgy look with piercings, tattoos and some with purple or pink hair.
They all wear protective kit, most with their own personalised helmet, and their roller derby nicknames are emblazoned across the back of their blue and black T-shirts.
It is the first sporting endeavour many players have taken part in.
Kim ‘Kapow’ Powell, 24, said: “I have seen quite a few broken limbs, hurt wrists, knocks to the head, injured coccyx, bruises and lumps.”
Rockers’ referee Mik Landy, 46, adds to the list: “Breakages, twisted ankles and all sorts of nasty, hideous things.”
Getting injured is considered part of the fun of roller derby and in fact players seem to enjoy showing off their derby-related injuries.
Kapow added: “There’s pride in it. It shows that you can handle a lot more than people might first think.”
Danelle ‘Racey’ Lever, 29, captain of the Brighton Rockers, said: “Women aren’t meant to fall down and injure themselves unless they are being ditsy or something, so I guess it is a bit of a throwback to that – a pride thing.”
One of the founders of the Brighton Rockers Roller Derby league, Rose ‘Rose Bleed’ Watson, 30, says women are proud of doing something requiring strength and agility. “It is absolutely about women being like, ‘look we can take this, we are good at it, and we enjoy it’.
“We actually think it’s hilarious how much we get hurt.”
How inclusive the sport is has been a draw for many of the players.
Rose added: “There is no body type necessary to play derby that is better over the others and actually I would argue that the bigger body type is becoming the more important these days.
“We are desperately trying to get big girls in our league.”
Kapow added: “If you are bigger you can use it and block people from getting through and if you are smaller you can use it and get through the gaps and you might be faster.”
The Rockers’ captain said all the women she plays with are “amazing women” and added: “It makes you look at people in that way – it makes you see what people can achieve. I really admire all the women I skate with.” Rose said the sport has helped to give many players a confidence boost – including herself.
She said: “Coaching has really helped me in my everyday life.
“I am quite a shy person and I really struggle to talk to people I don’t know but because I’ve been coaching for three years and I have to get people to listen to what I want them to do, I have to be a little bit more forceful and a little bit more confident.”
Despite four years of learning the ropes and rising through the league places the Rockers are apprehensive about their first bout of the season against the Rainy City Rollers at Hayward Heath’s Dolphin Centre tomorrow.
Racey said: “Rainy City are really highly ranked. It will be a bit of a shock to the system but we always go in trying to be confident.
“It will be a tight game but we will learn from it either way.”
For more information about the team or to buy tickets for the bout visit www.brightonrockers.com.
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