No one ever said NoHo wasn’t a unique neighborhood with a ton of fun things to do. We even got our own NoHo Derby…that’s roller derby!
You most definitely saw the NoHo Derby gals skating and tirelessly volunteering at the first ever CicLAvia Valley Edition this past weekend. We hope you stopped to say hello and got more information on how you can get involved as either a player or a volunteer. Don’t worry, if you’re new to roller derby they will gladly guide you through the process and help train you. So start thinking about your roller derby name. The NoHo Arts District dot com team can’t wait to cheer for our very own North Hollywood roller derby team. So let’s get to know the NoHo Derby and give them a big North Hollywood welcome.
How did the NoHo Derby start?
The founding members, Terrible Tues and Tankgrrrl were playing derby at the David Potell rink with a now-defunct group called the So Cal Rollerpunks. When the group disbanded, and the coach and other members left, Tankgrrrl suggested starting their own recreational league. They talked to other league owners and trainers, and built a relationship with the North Hollywood Hockey League, the roller hockey organization that runs and maintains the rink for the YMCA. Being out of work at the time, both women thought it would be great if they could introduce this wonderful sport to people that might not otherwise be able to afford the expenses and fees normally associated with starting to play a new sport. They collected safety equipment and skates from thrift stores and skater donations, obtained permission to use the facility for their practices, and thus North Hollywood Roller Derby was born.
What type of training is involved?
Skaters first learn the principals of skating and stopping, as well as falling safely. They learn about their gear and skates, including how to do routine maintenance and adjustments for themselves. All the while they learn about the rules of the game. Once they pass a minimum skills test required by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the most common rules set in America, skaters learn to block (hit) and counter block. Once they have acquired these skills, they are considered safe to scrimmage with other players.
What are some of the benefits of this game?
Roller derby is a highly demanding game. It requires and builds core strength, balance, agility, and “pack awareness” (awareness of your surroundings). To play well requires a working knowledge of strategy. As both teams are traveling along the track together as a pack, players of both teams are required to play both offense and defense simultaneously.
Playing also requires teamwork. We rely on our derby sisters on the track to help us do our job and to have our backs. This sport creates strong, supportive relationships and builds confidence both physically and mentally. If you can learn to face a bunch of strong aggressive women that are determined to take you down, it only goes to show that you can do anything!
Who are the players in NoHo Derby?
There are three positions of player:
Jammers are the point scorers. They wear a star on their helmet cover. They have to be fast, agile, and tenacious to force their way through (or sneak by) the opposing players in the pack. They earn one point for each opposing team player they pass, after their initial pass.
There are blockers. Their job is to block progress of the opposing jammer, and block (hit) them out of bounds, forcing then to repeat their attempt to pass the pack. Their secondary job is to help their jammer pass the other team’s blockers.
A pivot is a special blocker who wears a stripe down the center of their helmet. They control the speed of the pack, interpret/repeat calls from or by coaches. Basically they are an extension of the coach. They make the players on the track do what the coach on the sideline wants them to do. And in certain circumstances, can also replace the jammer and score points!
Rules of play are designed for player safety and fairness. If any player breaks a rule they will be removed from the track for a penalty. Players that are out of play for penalties give the opposing jammer “ghost points”– they get to score on someone even though they aren’t physically on the track at that time.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that our readers should know about?
We encourage adult women of all ages and body types to come learn to play roller derby with us. It’s fun, challenging and rewarding on so many levels! We learn to play, then visit other leagues around Southern California to learn new things, play with new people, and watch games and tournaments.
Everything we do free of dues or fees. We only ask that members contribute whatever they can to help us build and maintain our league; whether through donations of money, time or elbow grease.
We are NoHo Derby, and we love roller derby!
Are you looking for sponsorship?
Yes! Once we build a body of eligible players, we plan to host games here at our home rink. Friends, family and neighbors can come see all of our hard work pay off! We desperately need better safety gear, storage containers, removable tape for our temporary track–or better yet, sponsorship to resurface the rink so it can be painted with a permanent track and roller hockey’s markings! We also need scrimmage shirts for the girls to wear (black and white), flyers to promote the league and its events, and travel funds/accommodations for trips to out of town leagues’ scrimmages. We’d also like to take a moment to thank our first sponsor, Young Attitudes– A Salon 4 Kids, for their donation of new recruitment flyers.
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