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Roller derby open house

Updated: Mar 2

No roller derby league is an island! Our community within the league of Tampa Roller Derby (TRD) is wonderfully supportive, but having the opportunity to play with and against new people is invaluable and just plain fun. Different leagues can have different approaches to strategy or technique that are fantastic to learn from — especially for the members of our league that help teach newer skaters or strive to reach a higher level of play.

This is why we were incredibly excited when our friends at Revolution Roller Derby (REVO) invited leagues from all over the Tampa Bay Area for an entire day of roller derby at Sunderman Sports Complex in Palm Harbor on February 3.

TRD jammer Mike Drop makes an apex jump during a scrimmage.
Skaters dressed in red vs black colored teams during a scrimmage. The red jammer is mid air in an apex jump as a black team blocker and pivot attempt to block on the inside of the track. Photo by Nick Mandalo.

This open house was a showcase of the large, thriving, and passionate community of people who love roller derby across the Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. REVO hosted TRD, Sunshine City Roller Derby, Bradentucky Bombers, and Swan City for an all day scrimmage. Every level of roller derby lover was invited to participate, from seasoned skater to rookie, with plenty of room for spectators. Skaters from all leagues were split and mixed up every hour, which kept the whole day feeling fresh.

On the sidelines there was a varied lineup of vendors, where Tampa was able to set up a recruitment table and spread the word about some of our upcoming events. TRD hosts an Open Recruitment and Skills Bootcamp twice a year, and 2024’s first one was the very next day! We invited everyone we could to come out — the more friends the merrier. We were also excited to announce our upcoming clinic with Annie Swanson and Vicious VanGoGo from Arch Rival Roller Derby, 2019 WFTDA Champions. Swanson and Vicious were going to travel down from St. Louis to share some of their insights on technique, and it's an opportunity we wanted to share with as many people as possible.

Skaters on the bench wait for their turn to play.
A row of skaters sitting along a bench on the sidelines. Some are happily conversing, with a hand mid-gesture. The two skaters closest to the camera are leaning forward, faces tranquil as they watch what is happening off camera. Photo by Nick Mandalo.

It was a jam packed day!

The Open House was the perfect example of the roller derby community. We got to roll, mingle, and celebrate the spirit of roller derby. We’re all propelled by our love of this peculiar sport, and can’t do it without each other. We all have our own role to play — whether we’re building ourselves up, supporting each other, or working to maintain our local league. Everyone should have the opportunity to play a sport they love with a welcoming, diverse community that makes them feel safe.

A group of Tampa Roller Derby skaters and officials
A group of Tampa Roller Derby skaters and officials, many of which are wearing shirts with the TRD logo that features a bold illustrated flamingo. One skater on the left is holding an inflatable flamingo. Another person on the right is wearing a plush flamingo hat, with its long neck extending tall. Every person has a smile beaming on their face. Photo by Nick Mandalo.

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