In The Turn
directed by Erica Tremblay
Join us as we welcome speakers from the world of Roller Derby in Sheffield and they share with us their love of the sport and it's inclusiveness. We are delighted to be joined by the panel below and hope to see you there!
Claire Brand - Newcomer to Roller Derby
I’m one of the pre-minimum skills skaters, learning how to stay upright and still practicing falling over correctly. I’m very new to derby, having joined SSRG this very autumn; I’ve not even got rid of the box for my gear yet but my knee pads do now at least have some decent scuff marks on them.
For the best part of the last 6-7 years I was doing a degree that didn’t allow me regular time for sport; and I’m acutely aware of the nosedive my fitness had been doing in that time. Since coming out as transgender 2 years ago, I’ve been looking for ways to get back into exercise that I’d feel comfortable with both socially and physically.
Being a fairly major fan of Ellen Page I feel it would be disingenuous to claim Whip It had nothing to do with my considering roller derby. I did a bit of looking around and what really helped convince me was both speaking to SSRG about their “trans policy” and seeing the “Trans Girls Can” banner on their site. To find somewhere that would not just tolerate trans women but actively encourage them was a novel experience for me.
So far SSRG has been everything I hoped for and more, I’ve been overwhelmed by how welcoming and accepting everyone has been. I’ve made friends, shared in triumphs and failures alike and had a blast doing it. I can only hope the future holds more of the same for me!
Dawn Fletcher (AKA Bob)
I have been involved in roller derby for 5 years. Beginning as a skater with SSRG, I am now, too, a member of Team Metal Legs, a challenge team consisting of players from around the country who have recovered from roller derby related injuries. I also spent some time working with the Sheffield men’s team (the Inhuman League) and for the last couple of years, I have worked as a referee (I am currently SSRG’s head referee).
I originally joined because I wanted to be more active, and roller derby looked like more fun than joining a gym, but over the years, I have developed a desire to do much more than just play.
I am a 2nd year PhD student, studying men’s roller derby. Through this research, I have become acutely aware of a number of issues within the sport, and some of the unique (or a least, rare) opportunities roller derby offers for gender inclusivity, in particular.
Abbey Southall (Aka Rollease the Kraken)
Previous to joining SSRG, I exercised primarily so as not to dislike my body. I joined to make sure I had regular exercise and to help me feel like I was doing something with my life that wasn’t teaching. Roller derby has allowed me to achieve both of those things and then some. I am more confident, I now take risks (I can definitely go down a hill on my bike now...) and I want to exercise to feel strong, not skinnier.
I am still a pre-min skater, I am on my third time through the program, but this really doesn’t feel like anything negative. There are so many small, regular successes that roller derby just feels like an overwhelmingly positive journey. SSRG are some of the most fantastic women I have ever met and I count myself lucky to be a member.
Erica Packington (Aka she-RARR)
I’m a skater with Sheffield Steel Rollergirls. Over the 5 years I’ve been involved with roller derby I’ve been a skater, ref, Chair of SSRG as well as a general gobby person about the place talking about how awesome we are on radio, TV and press. I gave a Pecha Kucha and a TEDxSheffield talk in 2012 all about roller derby. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to skate in the second ever Roller Derby World Cup as a member of Team West Indies - we made it to number 15 in the world, out of 31 teams competing.
I kind of see roller derby as a place for my feminism (which mostly exists in my head and heart) to become outwardly physical. It’s a place where I can associate with brilliant people who are into women being strong and capable and powerful and having a bloody good time doing something extraordinary. I love skating, but I specifically love skating roller derby where aggression and power and fitness and fun all come together in this brilliantly chaotic sport.