Roller derby leagues like CCR are run with a democratic, DIY ethos, which means everyone in the league is equally important, and also takes an equal share of the work that keeps the league going.
On a national level, UK leagues are working together in this way to run UKRDA – the National Association for roller derby in the UK , and CCR are proud founding members.
This piece about the Association first appeared in Inside Line magazine, Issue 1 and is used with the magazine’s full permission :
Wanna be in our gang?
Why UKRDA is helping UK leagues get a better deal
By Germaine Leer
Roller derby attracts rebellious types, who squirm at the idea of playing a one-size-fits all sport. These skaters also strive to play by the (WFTDA) rules and pull together to run their leagues. The official body for UK rollerderby – UKRDA – is similarly complex – run democratically by participants from all over the UK, its members pull together to lobby for and promote the sport, whilst helping to grow strong, athletic leagues.
In February 2011, after months of behind the scenes discussion, meetings and votes by ukrda reps, the UKRDA announced that rollerderby is now officially recognised as a sport by the British Roller Sports Federation (BRSF), giving UKRDA an entry into BRSF.
President Slice Andice (LRG) -who recently represented UKRDA at 10 Downing Street for a Government event to stamp out homophobia and transphobia in sport – says there’s more to come. “We’re developing relationships with other roller disciplines, organizations and relevant government bodies. If I was to put together a wishlist for the future, it would include rankings, the development of the junior game, and anything else that will help improve participation and accessibility.”
So why should UK leagues bother getting involved in UKRDA, if this is already happening? Slice says for LRG, it was a no-brainer, “With the grassroots, DIY ethos we share with many leagues, we realised it was important we ‘muck in’ and do our bit for the sport. UKRDA is by the skaters and for the skaters, so we need leagues to join so we can continue to expand our scope, whilst remaining truly representative of our community.”
There are currently 13 member leagues and Tiger Bay Brawling are the newest recruits. TBB’s Dolly Dropkick explained why they wanted to get stuck in. “The UK derby scene is booming, and (before UKRDA) there was no governing body to add some direction and guidance to the huge influx of teams. We joined to ensure our standards were kept up with the top leagues in the UK, and advice on direction and competitive growth will be invaluable.”
Izzy Dauntless (BBD) has been a UKRDA rep for 6 months, and says it doesn’t involve a lot of work individually. “I check the forum every day, report back to the league where necessary and have also volunteered for association jobs. Currently I’m following conversations about how people are picked for bouts, and how to apply for WFTDA apprenticeship – BBD wouldn’t have access to either of those if we weren’t part of it. Derby is growing so fast and we need to make sure it stays how the skaters want it to – the UKRDA can ensure that happens.”
Applications are now open, and leagues which have been training for 6 months can apply to join. Slice Andice says,” We’re a rapidly growing sport – from 3 leagues in 2006 to over 80 in just 5 years – that’s a lot of people who would have no representation without an association.
“The sport is at this stage is predominantly flat track and played by women for which the WFTDA is the international governing body. We encourage UK leagues to join this organisation too- and I hope we can match the quality and foresight of their work here in the UK, and really get the sport on the map. We want to open up funding streams and skater and club insurance for male and female member skaters.
“There’s strength in numbers, so I would love all UK leagues to join the UKRDA – to give us a bigger voice to shout louder, and so more people can hear just how awesome roller derby is.”