Roller Derby consists of two teams with 5 players each. A match (or bout) lasts for 2 x 30 minutes, and is divided into several 2-minute jams where the teams try to score. Flat Track Roller Derby is played on a flat, oval track. Each team consists of 4 blockers and 1 jammer each. Each teams jammer starts together behind the blockers, and will try to make their way through the pack of blockers. The jammer who passes the group first is the lead jammer, and has the power to end the jam before the 2 minutes have passed.
After passing the blockers for the first time, the jammer must race around the track and try to pass the group again. For each opposing team blocker the jammer passes, she scores 1 point. Both teams have the dual task of helping their own jammer pass, while stopping the opposing teams jammer from passing. When the 2 minute jam is over, or the lead jammer calls it off, a new jam starts, and a new round of scoring points.
For more information, visit Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)
Roller Derby started as an edurance competition in the early 20th century in USA. The sport drew big crowds, partly because of the novel element of female contestants. In the 30s, the sport transformed from its marathon like racing, to more of a team sport with a big element of physical contact, still with women and men playing on the same team (though not at the same time).
The sport was very popular, and aired on national television in the 50s through the 70s. In the 60s and 70s, the sport evolved to become more like present day roller derby. It became very popular in both Europe and Canada, and as far away as Japan, and at its height, 50 000 fans turned up to see a bout between Chicago Midwest Pioneers and the Los Angeles Thunderbirds.
It wasn't a night of 22 burly football players knocking heads, or even the on-again, off-again White Sox success story. It was Roller Derby, the strange cross between circus, hockey, and lady wrestling. [...] Inside, the lucky 50,000 systematically greeted each surge of points with applause, whether they understood how it was done or not. The bring-em-to-their-feet act, however, was a man flying over the wooden rink's rail, or a red-haired lady stomping a silver skate into the opposition. "I liked to see them get knocked down" said an 8-year old, summing up the evening.
- Chicago Tribune, 16 sept. 1972
The sport faded away with an economic downturn and disappeared from the TV screens, and despite attempts to revive it, it didn't make its come back until the 2000s. A new version played on a flat track - easier and more accessible for new teams - became popular, lead on by the Texas Rollergirls. By 2005, there were over 50 leagues in USA, and by 2009 the sport was international again. With 425 teams, of which 79 could be found in Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden and Australia, the sport was spreading like wildfire. Leading this revival was the female players, and though the sport had always been co-ed, the great majority of teams today are women's teams (though co-ed and men's teams are on the rise as well).
The sport came to Norway with the start of Nidaros Roller Derby in Trondheim in 2010, and in 2014 Norway participated in the World Cup in Dallas. Among the league founders were several players from Andøya.