How have York Minxters Roller Derby, the city’s very own roller derby team, been competing since 2011 right here in the city without me even knowing? I am so late to the party! Well I’m here to correct that and am delighted to be in the right place, at the right time to announce that their brand new junior team – Yorkshire Terrors Junior Roller Derby – has just launched.
I first went to a roller derby in Ithaca, New York State some 8 years ago, and was absolutely thrilled by the speed, the skills, the outfits and the atmosphere of this fast paced, family friendly sport. Roller derby is a full-contact sport played on quad roller skates, by players skating around an elliptical track. The game consists of a series of two-minute countdown jams. The skaters do their utmost to stop the opposing team scoring points, while at the same time trying to score points of their own.
To think it is happening in York without me knowing seems crazy.
I talked to Emma, the team’s IT and Media Manager (and eldest player!) to get the low down.
“York Minxters Roller Derby is an all female roller derby team who compete in the British Roller Derby Championships. There’s about 50 skaters, referees and Non Skating Officials, all of whom are essential to the running of the team and our games. We train at Energise Leisure Centre, and our last Championships home game was in the York College’s Sports Hal, which holds lots of spectators. And for each match we need 5 referees!
At the moment we are really excited to announce that we launched Yorkshire Terrors Junior Roller Derby, our brand new junior team and the first of its kind in York. We have 20 young people between the ages of 8 to 18 enrolled on a‘ Learn to skate’ programme before moving on to strategy and contact work. It’s great to have a full intake straight away, our social media has been buzzing, but we will be taking on new skaters throughout the year. Our goal is to have a junior team ready to compete as soon as possible.
We wouldn’t have been able to launch the juniors this year without the generous £2k funding we received from Postcode Community Trust, which is funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. With it we have bought all the essential equipment we need. We feel really lucky and excited.”
Emma went on to tell me about a bit more about the set up and the kind of people who get involved.
“It’s fast and furious and very competitive but there are deep friendships in the roller derby community. Opposing teams are usually chatting to one another right up to the whistle blowing for the start of the game, and then it’s hugs all round once the final whistle blows. Our spectators are amazing, and our supporters have travelled all over the country to see us play.
Our ages range from 20s to 40s and I love the fact that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you are from, we have an inclusive environment where absolutely anyone can come along and play roller derby. We have such a great mix.
Roller derby operates on a ‘by the skaters, for the skaters’ basis. We are non-profit, so exist through monthly subs and merchandise sales. We are also always looking out for sponsorship, of course!”
York Minxters are continually on the look out for new players for their female, all-gender and junior teams, along with new volunteers and new sponsorship.
Want to get into it? I thought as much. You can get in touch York Minxters via their web site www.yorkminxters.com or get involved through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/yorkrollerderby/.
Want to see it all for yourself? Yes please! The next home game is on the 4th August from 12 noon at York College Sports Hall. Be ready to cheer!