The other week I was invited by Rainy City Roller Derby, based in Oldham, to try out their new skater sessions and watch a game. Obviously I said hell yes and I had such a blast watching both the game (vs. Croydon Roller Girls) and trying out skating for myself. I lie there a little as I’ve actually been coming to the New Skater Sessions for a few months.
There are several reactions to saying you enjoy Roller Derby, whether it’s watching, training or playing. One is ‘Wow that’s brave’, another is ‘That’s so cool!’ as well as ‘Jesus fucking Christ’.
And the gals and guys from Rainy City leave you in pretty good hands (or skates).
Roller Derby is a full-contact sport on four-wheel skates. Some describe it as ‘rugby on skates’. (However that would be absolutely terrifying, it’s not that scary) You have two teams, who compete against one another on the track. Jammers are quick, they try to get as many laps as possible past the blockers from the opposing team. Blockers block the opposing teams jammer. For every blocker of the opposing team you pass, you get a point (essentially). You can find more info on the rules and such here.
Funnily enough, this was actually my first game to watch of Roller Derby, after months of coming to the New Skater Sessions. Rainy City Roller Derby is based in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
The Thunderdrome, as it’s so called, is a humble, cosy abode. To put it bluntly, Roller Derby is still quite an underground sport (despite being regulated and having teams across the country). The Thunderdrome is one of two dedicated venues to Roller Derby in the UK to put it in perspective.
You’ll know you’ve hit the right place when you enter and there are rows and rows of Rainy City posters greeting you as you follow the stairs up.
Following the game was actually easier than I thought! People from all sorts of different ages and genders come to watch the games, and it’s super inclusive all around which I really loved.
The first half of the game was Rainy City Bet Lynch Mob vs. Croydon Vice Squad. From what I believe this was our C team against their B team. Unfortunately the Rainy gals lost this one, but they came back in the second part of the Double header when our Tender Hooligans vs. Croydon Riot Squad.
I’ve been attending Rainy City’s New Skater Sessions for the past four months and honestly it’s been so much fun. I cannot stress to you enough how everyone starts at the same position. 80% of people start Roller Derby with barely any experience, except for that one time you bossed the school playground on skates 2o years ago.
Most start barely being able to move on skates and it’s entirely normal.
One reason I’m beginning to love the sport is how supportive everyone is of everyone essentially. There isn’t anybody arsey in Rainy City (or who I’ve met so far) and I’ve never started a sport where there is no favouritism. The newbie skaters get as much attention as the experienced advanced trainers in these sessions.
Plus you’ll get a great leg and butt workout from basically either A. being in ‘derby stance’ and B. from falling down and getting back up again. (which happens a lot.)
I’m Eleanor, a UK Manchester based Lifestyle & Beauty Blogger. I write about beauty products, feminism, mental health and my adventures in the big city of MCR.