Tough Girls on Skates

By Katherine Pioli

by Katherine Pioli

Meet the Salt City Derby Girls

pioli_derbyPlaying a full contact sport is almost unheard of for women. Sure, there are a few women’s rugby teams (BYU of all places has a very talented club team) and the occasional ice hockey team, but women rarely engage each other on that level. Female lacrosse players, for example, are explicitly forbidden by game rules to “check” their opponents using their body or their stick. (Checking is blocking an opponent by bumping with the body from the front or side.) In men’s lacrosse, on the other hand, checking is considered an essential element of the game and encouraged as good technique. One sport, however, defies traditional gender roles, although it is played almost exclusively by women. Roller derby is highly aggressive and decidedly full contact. Body checking, in the appropriate and rules sanctioned areas, is instrumental. Players often walk away from the bouts with minor injuries, bruised ribs and sore wrists. Sometimes players leave the rink with major concussions. It is, many would say, a masculine game for these reasons, yet this game is decidedly feminine and, dare we say, sexy!



This article was originally published on April 30, 2010.