The Sioux Falls Roller Dollz started coming together back in 2006. It all started as an idea between a few friends who saw a special on T.V. about roller derby. Very quickly that idea picked up steam bringing all types of women together to form the team. The volunteer skaters come from all different walks of life. They are grandmothers, mothers, students, and professionals.
Team announcer Joy Falencik or "Destructive D-Lite" as she's called on the rink has been with the team since the start. As they are finishing their 5th season Joy says this isn't the couple skating you did at the rink as a kid. It's a fast game with some hard hits.
Here's how the game works. In each match, or bout, there are 2 teams of 14 girls. In each bout there are two 30 minute periods. In those periods there are 2 minute plays called jams. Five players from each team take the rink. The first whistle from the referees sends the pack of 8 blockers moving. The second whistle sends the two jammers moving. On the second time around the jammers get one point for each opposing player they pass.
Injuries can happen during the matches and even practice. Joy says knee injuries and concussions are the most common. She also says they take injury very seriously and if someone goes down they have people ready to help right away.
The Roller Dollz invited me to put on a pair of skates and try out for the team. Turns out the Roller Dollz make the matches look effortless but there is a lot of work that goes into getting ready for the rink. First you need to pass a basic skills requirements test to make it onto the team. Most girls do a boot camp and skate for months in order to learn the skills to pass the test. I gave it a shot with about two weeks of skating practice. There are about 40 items on this list you need to pass. Some of them are pretty easy, like being able to show a basic skating stance. However they do get more difficult. I found the different "falls" the most difficult because when you execute a fall you need to get back up within a few seconds.
Other things you need to learn include how to give a hit, how to take a hit, how to give a take a "whip," and you'll need to build up endurance on your skates as well.
At the end of my experience I didn't pass all of the requirements but I did pass some, which made me feel pretty good about my two week training. I can tell you the Roller Dollz truly love what they do and they love what their organization does. Money raised during each bout is gifted to a different local charity. So far the Roller Dollz have given close to $40,000 back to the community.
If you are interested in joining the team try the link on the left side of your page. Also if you are thinking of trying out for the Dollz then you'll want to check out two upcoming boot camps. They are June 5th and June 12th from 10:00 in the morning until 5:00 p.m. at the Multi Cultural Center in Sioux Falls. You can go to one or both. It's $10 a day which helps pay for the rental costs but you will get lunch. They will be covering the basics during boot camp and you will need all the required gear which is skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a mouth guard. To get gear you can go to World Wide Skate and Snow Shop and ask for the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz discount.