Roller Derby Returns | VideoAlan Miller | 1/17/2013
You won`t find many roller derby veterans here. They`re all relative newcomers to the sport, which can get pretty rough. While it`s a team game, you have to keep your eyes on the ones with stars on their helmets.
"In roller derby, we actually score, we have two jammers, one from our team, one from the opposing team," explains Lauren Meiers from the Bombshellz B Team. "They have to go through the pack once without any penalties, just as their initial pass. Once they go through again, for each opponent that they pass, they score a point on."
There`s a lot of bumping and blocking to prevent those jammers from getting through, but there`s no pushing or elbowing allowed.
"I wouldn`t consider it a violent sport. It`s a competitive sport," said Jeff Mehlhoff of the Bomberz. "There`s competitive injuries and there`s strategy. But there`s never, like a fist thrown to the face or somebody going out after a bout to pick a fight with you."
So far, the sport has appealed to more women than men around here. The ladies have enough athletes to form two teams.
"The first few times you come to a bout, I think you`re there for the action," says Rena Mehlhoff of the Bombshellz. "But once you start learning the strategies and seeing the different plays that we can do, there`s like bridging, there`s the conga line, there`s goating, there`s all sorts of strategies, that once you start getting into it, you realize there`s much more than just the hits."
The coach is learning right along with all the others. He started out as a referee.
"Learning the rules, teaching the rules, not being a lifelong skater, trying to demonstrate things that the skaters should be doing. Because a lot of people in this sport will learn by doing versus hearing it," said Mike Gayette, who plays as well as coaches.
I ask Rena "what`s the worst injury you`ve ever had?"
She responds with a chuckle, "(A) broken nose."
There are eleven bouts planned this year. The next one will be held on Saturday the 26th at the Bismarck Civic Center. Both women`s teams will be competing, one against a team from Canada and the other faces a team from Grand Forks.
And by the way, they`re always looking for new players. Find out more at www.bismanbombshellz.com.