What is roller derby?
Roller derby is a sport played on quad skates (4 wheels, not inline “roller blades”) that is a mix of offense and defense. In its simplest form, roller derby is a game of skating, human interaction (hitting/pushing) and strategy. In a game, there are two teams, typically of 14 people or more. There are bench coaches for each team as well. There are also upwards of 14 volunteers, referees and scorekeepers who help run the game who are often called non-skating officials, or NSOs. 5 skaters from each team enter the track, with 4 defensive skaters called blockers, and 1 offensive skater, who is called a jammer. The jammer wears a piece of fabric called a “panty” on their helmet which has a star to signify they are the only person allowed to score points. When the game begins, all skaters start moving counter-clockwise around the track. Blockers try to stop the opposing team’s jammer while assisting their own. The jammer tries to maneuver out of the “pack” of skaters to score points. This action is repeated for up to 2 minutes during each 30-minute half of the game. All skaters use high level skating skills, footwork, stability, teamwork, agility, stamina and determination to follow the rules of the game. Read more about roller derby here!
When and where do you practice?
We call Astro Skate of Tarpon Springs home – it’s off of US19 and Tarpon Ave. at 875 Cypress St, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689. We practice two times per week – on Mondays from 7-10pm, and Wednesdays from 8:30-10:30pm. We have occasional Sunday scrimmages from 9:45am-12pm from time to time – check our Events page to see the next scrimmage! If we don’t have a Sunday scrimmage, we have a group trail skate on the Pinellas Trail early in the morning for current members.
Can I join if I have no skating experience?
Absolutely! Many of our greenhorns (a term for new crew members) have joined with zero skating experience! While it is ideal for you to know how to roller skate, there are zero abilitiy requirements for new skaters. We’ll teach you how to skate, stop, and fall safely before we introduce you to roller derby concepts. We ask that interested skaters fill out our introductory survey so we can get to know them better before they attend their first practice. Click HERE to fill it out!
What can I expect at my first practice?
If you don’t want to skate your first day, you’re welcome to come hang out, ask questions and get to know our teammates as they skate. If you’re interested in skating the first day, we’ll have you fill out basic safety paperwork, and we’ll get you into loaner gear. You will need to bring your own mouthguard. The SISU brand mouth guard is popular in the roller derby universe, but a $1 plastic guard from Walmart will do just fine. Make sure to heat mold your mouth guard before you come! You’ll be able to skate around the track with us, ask questions, and jump in on any (non-hitting) skating drills we have going on.
What does it cost to be a league member?
Our league membership dues are $30 per month and help cover venue rental and league expenses. If you don’t already have your own gear, you will need to purchase safety gear and skates once you’re ready to commit to the league. We skate with helmets, mouth guards, wrist guards, elbow guards, knee pads and quad skates (not inline/roller blades). Packages for all derby gear can start from $150 and go up – we can help you plan and budget your ideal skate and gear setup if you wish, and can help fit a wide range of budgets and needs. When you are ready to begin the “roller derby” aspect of practice which includes hitting drills, you will need to purchase a supplemental insurance plan from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), whose rules we skate and abide by. The price of WFTDA insurance as of 2017 is $75 per year. We will be happy to help you with this process when the time comes.
What are the expectations of me as a league member?
We expect that you act by our pirate’s code and that you attend practice regularly if possible. No matter your goals, you benefit from skating every time you show up! We also expect that team members do their best to attend our monthly recruitment and community outreach events, which also act as league bonding time. For an upcoming list of events, check out our events page! As a note: many of us are parents and we understand that life gets busy. We are flexible when it comes to practice and league events, and just ask that you communicate any scheduling issues accordingly.
If I donate money or products to the league, can I claim it on my taxes?
Yes! We are a recognized 501(c)(3) organization and with our official tax ID, your donations to the league are tax deductible. Just send us a message and we’ll give you all of the information you need to properly claim it.