Saturday, April 28

I be jammin'

While watching Cupcake Wars the other night with Momma, I asked her to explain what roller derby was.

Momma actually blanched and hesitated before answering me.

I don't know why; it seems like my kind of sport.

The growing popularity of roller skating in the United States led to the formation of organized multi-day endurance races for cash prizes, as early as the mid-1880s. Speed and endurance races continued to be held on both flat and banked tracks in the 20th century's first three decades and spectators enjoyed the spills and falls of the skaters. The term derby was used to refer to such races by 1922.

While the sport has its origins in the banked-track roller skating marathons of the 1930s, Leo Seltzer and Damon Runyon are credited with the basic evolution of the sport to its initial competitive form. Professional roller derby quickly became popular; in 1940 more than 5 million spectators watched in about 50 U.S. cities.

Roller derby is a now a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track. Game play consists of a series of short matchups ("jams") in which both teams designate a scoring player (the "jammer") who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the opposing jammer — in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously.

Roller derby is played by more than 1,200 amateur leagues on every inhabited continent, and is under consideration for the 2020 Olympics.

Most modern leagues share a strong "do it yourself" ethic which combines athleticism and (steam)punk, camp, and feminist elements.

Yup, my kind of sport! I'll have to add it to my Steampunk Olympics.

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