Interview with:

A founder of the New Town Roller Girls

Victoria Tickle speaks to one of the founders of an exciting new sports team in West Lothian...

February 2015

New Town Roller Girls are Livingston's only female flat-track roller derby league. They are three years old and are making their bouting debuts this year in the BritishChampionships.

Roller derby is an adrenaline filled, full contact sport which is rapidly growing in popularity worldwide. Two teams of fourteen compete in a bout with up to five team members on track at any one time. The scoring player (the "jammer") scores points by lapping members of the opposing team, while her teammates attempt to assist their own jammer by pushing or whipping her through the pack, forcing opposing team members out of her way and hindering the opposing jammer by blocking her path or hitting her out of bounds. Play is fast and action-packed, making roller derby an exciting sport for spectators as well as skaters.

Could you introduce yourself? My name is Hazzard! Or, if you want to get official, Hazel.

Derby girls have special connections with their alter egos, what's yours? My derby name came from my work where I do some of our health and safety bits and bobs and I'm known to be a bit clumsy. The name developed from there and then from there it came in to derby!

How did you get involved with the sport? I watched Whip It! At the time I started looking up other leagues in Scotland but many of them where too far away from me or had big waiting lists for new skaters. So me and a couple others started our own team in Livingston.

Can you describe your personal journey with Derby? After we'd decided to start up our own league the next step was skates. As I had no idea what we were doing I bought these (in hindsight) really awful skates. Thankfully, once we'd got all our kit we managed to get ourselves a training venue at Craigswood. Back in those days we only practiced every second Sunday which now I find hard to think that I had to go without skating for so long! It took us a while to get ourselves established properly but with help from local leagues we started to grow both our skills and our numbers. The past year I feel has been our best year. I've got to see so many enthusiastic girls come in to the NTRG fold and I look forward to playing alongside them this year!

Why is Livingston such a great place to be? Livingston has so much potential for the growth of roller derby within it. The only thing it is lacking so far is a venue for us to host games. Unlike the bigger cities in Scotland, Livingston just doesn't have a big sports complex to host many sports' games. Livingston and the surrounding areas would benefit extremely well from one! For us, we've found a wealth of talented and determined ladies that have brought so much to the league already and we hope we find more!

Who can play derby & who are NTRG looking for? Anyone can play! Although we may be a women's league there are men's leagues around Scotland. There's also one junior league too! Even though we might only take women as players at the moment, men that are interested in joining can be referees or NSO’s (non-skating officials) as well. That also applies to women who maybe don't want to do the contact or cannot skate for some reason. We would love to have as many people involved in our wonderful sport as we can and we have the platform to do that at NTRG!

How can I take part?

NTRG are looking for new skaters (“Fresh Meat”) to join us, as well as people who want to train as referees or help out as a non skating official. Anyone who is 18 or over and interested in trying roller derby should contact newtownrollergirls@hotmail.co.uk to come along to a training session. We have spare kit that new skaters can borrow, the first session is free and if you haven’t skated before, we’ll teach you all you need to know.

Before you know it you’ll have been bitten by the derby bug!

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/NewTownRollerGirls

The face of roller derby has changed greatly from its origins in the banked-track roller skating marathons of the 1930s.

Having become a form of sports entertainment in subsequent years where showmanship was of greater importance than sporting ability, roller derby has undergone a resurgence since the turn of the century. It is now played on a flat track rather than a banked track, making it easier for groups of players to form leagues and train and teams are springing up all over the country. It has become so popular worldwide that it’s being considered as a new inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Predominately a sport played by women, there are around twelve women’s leagues in Scotland as well as some men’s and co-ed teams.

© Lothian Publications Ltd