We haven’t seen more tough women on roller skates recently, but, boy, have we seen more roller-derby trend stories (and more Devo headline puns), as Whip It heads into theaters today. From Dodgeball to Little Miss Sunshine and all the subject-specific films in between, we know trend stories tend to erupt before the premiere of any movie with a peg. It's typically thanks to publicity stunts, publicist-funneled "experts," the self-promoters (roller-skate-company executives, roller-skate business-association presidents) who are hoping to get a little prominent product placement in the news. Is roller derby really booming? We don't know. Actual numbers are few and far between — but two different journalists have spotted leagues with 30 whole people! Clearly, it’s taking the world by storm! Below, dispatches from rink-side.
Is roller derby back?
"Women's Roller Derby is Back." [AP]
Where is it back?
“The sport has already taken New York by storm.” [NYDN]
How big is it?
“The [E-Ville Roller Derby League], one of two in Edmonton, has grown from six women in 2007 to 30, and the current revival (huge in the U.S.) is expected to explode Oct. 2 with the release of the roller derby movie Whip It Women all over Canada will leave the theatre pumped about slammin' and jammin', looking to join a local version of the Hurl Scouts, [Ellen] Page's team in the movie." [National Post Canada]
And it’s not even just for women anymore!
“ The sport has been redefined. Modern roller derby is athletic, overwhelmingly female and its campy sex appeal is about to go mainstream But with women hogging all the fun in recent years, perhaps it's no surprise that men are elbowing into the fray.” [Globe and Mail UK]
And Edmonton isn’t the only city with 30 roller skaters.
"Now, [the Acadiana Good Times Rollers] contains upward of 30 members, including a few men (who can serve as referees in the sport) 'We've only been in existence for a month and a half at this point,' said [Kat] Brent. 'And each practice, there are new faces. We're growing all the time.'" [Daily World]
It’s so huge now, there are even phantom theoretical teams!
“The Rollergirls have yet to find a venue where they will be able to play and practice because the selection in Missoula is sparse.”