A Roller Revival
The Banditas formed a roller derby league back in July to give local women aged 18 and up access to one of the fastest growing, most exciting and inclusive contact sports in the world. The group wanted to bring the sport into the local community and not only encourage people to get fit in an unusual and exhilarating way but to also give the region yet another sports team to be proud of. Suma’s own Katharine, a.k.a. “St Pauli Girl”, is a keen member of the team, and has been busy scouting for new recruits amongst her Suma collegues!
Invented in 1920s America, roller derby has evolved into a predominantly female sport – and one that can get pretty hands on. Teams take part in bouts and score points by getting their their fastest player around the track ahead of opposition players, whilst the other team tries to stop her using almost any means possible!
Vandal Liza (not her real name, funnily enough), one of the founding members of the Bruising Banditas, explains her enthusiasm for the sport; ‘one of the best things about Roller Derby is the grass roots, DIY ethic of the teams involved. Roller Derby teams are run and maintained by the skaters for the skaters. Most things we use are sourced locally and from within the team; whether that be skaters, referees, artists for promotional material and training spaces. We work hard to support local businesses and charities and build a good solid relationship with our community’. The group have already had a fundraiser which raised funds for a local charity that helps women who are victims of domestic abuse, which Suma was pleased to support with some fundraising raffle prizes.
But it’s not always an easy ride- Vandal Liza notes “a lot of work goes into running a derby team and each of our skaters put that work in for free in their spare time because they are passionate about building a professional, successful team”.
If you want to be part of the fastest growing sport in the UK either as a skater, sponsor or friend of the league you can find out more about the Bruising Banditas at www.bruisingbanditas.com. Skaters need to be over 18 but equipment and safety training is provided.