Photo courtesy of Ron Horton.
Roller derby is in Utah Valley, and it’s awesome. If you're unfamiliar with the sport, here's a quick introduction.
What it is
Roller derby is a fiercely competitive contact sport played by two teams of five players who skate around a track. The game (called a “bout”) lasts for two half-hour periods made up of two-minute “jams.” During each jam, the lead “jammer” tries to lap the other team.
Each time the jammer passes an opposing player, she earns a point for her team. The other team tries to stop that from happening by blocking—within the rules, of course. Like just about any other sport, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Happy Valley Derby Darlins
Utah has a handful of leagues from Moab to Ogden, including Utah Valley’s own Happy Valley Derby Darlins. The league has three home teams and one travel team. The home teams (Daughters of Anarchy, Rollin Rebellion and Sirens of Steel) play against each other all season, and the travel team (the Molly Morbids), which has a volunteer coach, plays teams from other leagues.
Each league registers under the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, and they currently have 212 full-member leagues and 83 apprentice leagues in the world.
Lex Losee, aka Triple LeXXX, has been on the Molly Morbids team since 2011. She says she likes how it takes her out of her comfort zone. “I love that I’m consistently pushing myself,” Losee says. “You’re all pushing each other to be the best at playing. I love that whole community feeling.”
Know before you go
The Happy Valley Derby Darlins play in Spanish Fork at an empty Food 4 Less. There are some chairs, but I’d recommend bringing your own camp chair or blanket to sit on because the concrete’s not very comfortable. The derby season lasts February to October, so you don't have much longer to check out a bout and see what it’s all about, at least until next year.
They ask for a $5 donation at the door before bouts. The Happy Valley Derby Darlins is a non-profit, so a big portion of it goes to the chosen charity for that bout.
Losee recommends watching YouTube videos and looking up the rules before you go; otherwise it’ll just look like a bunch of fishnet -clad women roller skating in circles and shoving each other off the track.
You’ll want to read up on the rules, penalties, game play and positions—jammer (scores points, has stars on helmet), blocker (prevents opposing jammer from passing) and pivot (special blocker who can be a jammer, has stripe on helmet). If you’re still confused after your research, just watch the movie “Whip it.”
If you want to join up
Anybody can join the league, but it takes a fair amount of commitment. First you’ll need to get a helmet, skates and protection for your mouth, elbows, wrists and knees. You have to complete “fresh meat” training (12 weeks) and then pass a minimum skills assessment. Then you’ll be put on a home team in the league.
So look up the schedule and start thinking of what you want your derby name to be!