On Saturday, October 12 the Southern Delaware Roller Girls (SDRG) held their last bout of the season on their home turf, the Milford Skating Rink in downtown Milford. Facing off against the Shore Points Roller Derby team, the girls fought a hard match against a tough, hard-hitting team from New Jersey, losing 146 to 109.
Finishing their first full season, the girls record at 5-3 reflected just how far the team has come since its inception just two years ago. The Southern Delaware Roller Girls, organized by Jessica Farley in April 2011, has 34 members, 14 of which are considered “bout ready.” The club includes skaters with varying skill levels. Not all members who join choose to participate in the bouts, as they get very physical, and many of these are referees or Non-Skating Officials (NSO). All members say that the organization provides an excellent way to workout in a unique fashion.
Bench Coach “Armajennon”, who was sitting on the sidelines due to a broken thumb, admits that the game can get physical but that SDRG is about more than just the eight bouts they faced together this year.
“I love the friendships I have built with the girls on the team,” commented Armajennon. The experience has been amazing, we have worked so long to be on the team. We have trained hard to get to the point where we could play a full season and it feels great.”
A Roller Derby bout begins with “The Pack,” which consists of four blockers from each team and one “Jammer” from each team taking off at the sound of a whistle. The Jammers, who have stars on their helmets, try to race through the Pack, scoring points for each opposing team member they pass. Jams last two minutes, and there are penalties that can be assessed during the Jams. The bouts are not like those that many may remember from the 1970’s, when Roller Derby was popular, as they are less theatrical and more athletic than in the past.
Husbands and boyfriends of the members are affectionately known as “Derby Widows” for their support of the women who belong. The women in SDRG come from many different lifestyles, careers, shapes and sizes. Boyfriends and husbands must accept that the women travel to other cities, both for bouts and to assist other clubs with their bouts or practices. Unlike the Roller Derby that many may remember from the 1970’s, the group focuses strongly on safety, and they actually delayed their first bout until they were sure the girls were completely bout ready.
The Southern Delaware Roller Girls also offers tremendous community support. At Saturday’s bout they partnered with the Delaware SPCA Animal Shelter in Georgetown, to raise money for the elimination of animal cruelty, neglect and overpopulation. All food purchased from the Milford Skating Rink snack bar and bake sale during the event supported the Milford Community Parade, which will be held this Wednesday, October 16 through downtown Milford.
SDRG has begun their practices on Monday, Thursday and Saturday at Milford Skating Center, and new members, affectionately known as “Fresh Meat,” are always welcome. Practices include skating assessments, skills, safety and rules knowledge training. To find out more information on the Southern Delaware Roller Girls, individuals can visit http://www.sodelrollergirls.com or find them on Facebook.