In their world, you’re either a Blocker or a Jammer.
Welcome to a roller derby bout.
Each bout lasts for two 30-minute periods. The goal might be to win, but the point should be to have fun with your teammates.
“I think it’s pretty uncommon for such a diverse group of women to be as close as our team is,” said Kelley Durden, a.k.a. Copper Chaos.
She’s the league treasurer for the Gainesville Roller Rebels, a team created in 2007 and accepted into the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association as an apprentice team in January.
She said that despite their differences, the league gets along really well both on and off the track.
“There are very few of us that would be in the same social circle if we didn’t play roller derby together.”
“On Wednesday nights, we get together at whatever local business has trivia,” said Durden.
“Sometimes we have potlucks or bar-be-ques, and last year we celebrated Canada Day with Thanksgiving-style for one of our skaters from Canada.”
(“Eh-nihilator” was the Player of the Month in May 2011, and she spoke with WRUF 850 AM’s Steve Russell on Sportscene about her transition from ice hockey to roller derby. Listen to the“Eh-Nihilator” with Steve Russell on Sportscene.)
In addition to hanging out together outside of the track, GRR women also help out local charities.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, they play against the Richland County Regulators, a team from South Carolina.
At the event, they hope to raise money from a raffle to benefit the Peaceful Paths Abuse Network, the “certified domestic abuse network that serves survivors of domestic violence in Alachua, Bradford, and Union counties,” according to the network’s Facebook page.
“It means so much to us to be able to support them financially and spread the word about their charity,” Durden said.
Roller derby bouts are full of an infectious energy and excitement.
“The community of fans in Gainesville come out all the time, the energy from the fans is so amazing,” said Durden. “We have such loyal fans, they come out all the time. We had some fans accompany us to a bout in North Carolina, and sometimes to our games in South Florida.”
“I think it’s such a worthwhile charity for us to fundraise for because it’s another organization in the community that supports women,” Durden said.
The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Skate Station Funworks, located at 1311 NW 76th Blvd. You can buy advance tickets for $8 at Skate Station, Sweet Dreams Ice Cream, Volta Coffee and Brown Paper Tickets. Otherwise, tickets will be $12 at the door. Kids ages 12 and under get in for free.