Roller derby Information

Contemporary roller derby is an American-invented contact sport with roots in sports entertainment. The game is based on formation roller skating around an oval track by two teams. Points are scored when the designated scoring player of a given team laps members of the opposing team; hence offense and defense typically occur simultaneously.

Roller "derbies" were originally straightforward amateur or professional endurance races on roller skates, which were popular from the 1880s into the 1920s. A popular, multi-day touring exhibition of such races began in 1935 during the Great Depression, which simulated cross-country races by professional two-person male-female teams. Soon thereafter, the teams were restructured, a point-scoring system was enacted, the endurance aspect was abandoned, and forms of contact were allowed, creating the basic format of contemporary derby.

In the 1950s skaters occasionally staged theatrical plays, but by the 1960s and into the 1970s the sport increasingly became a form of sports entertainment akin to World Wrestling Entertainment, in which the theatrical elements typically overshadowed the athletic and sporting aspects. The gratuitous showmanship largely ended with the sport's grassroots mid-2000s revival. Contemporary derby is international and predominantly female, maintaining many of the sports-entertainment qualities such as pseudonyms and colorful uniforms, but eschewing "staged" events with pre-determined winners. Contemporary roller derby is an international sport with over 600 women's leagues in more than 20 countries . Furthermore it is not exclusively a young woman's game as people over 40 also participate. Leagues typically operate on an amateur circuit, and are based on a strong do it yourself ethic which features both athleticism and elements from punk and third-wave feministaesthetics.

Wikipedia, Roller derby, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_derby (as of Apr 7, 2011)

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