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Whip It Inspires Roller-Derby Mania … in Newspapers

Everybody's doing it! In this new movie.

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.”
[Montana Kaimin]

Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures