So, you wanna be a Darlin?
Are you interested in becoming a KDD skater? Then you probably have a lot of questions about roller derby! This FAQ page will help answer some of the basics.
Q) Whom do I contact if I want to join your league?
A) Please email JG and she'll get you started!
Q) Can I start right away?
A) Yes! Kalamazoo accepts prospective and transfer skaters year-round. You don’t have to wait for a boot camp or a recruitment drive — you can come to Rollerworld and check out a practice anytime, and start whenever you’re ready. Don’t hesitate!
Q) I haven’t had skates on since my sixth birthday party. Can I still join?
A) Of course. Skating experience is helpful but not necessary — some of our current charter skaters had never laced up a set of quads when they started. Many of us had never played a sport before we found KDD. We can teach you everything, as long as you have the desire to keep getting back up after you’re knocked down.
Q) How old do I have to be? How old is too old?
A) You must be at least 18 years old to skate with the Derby Darlins. However, if you’re between the ages of 6 and 17, please consider joining The Killer Beez, our little sister league! Just email Javelin for the details.
For more seasoned women, KDD has a 40+ club with several members. Our oldest skaters at the moment are 43, but we’ve had skaters older than that on the track. Your attitude is more important than your age.
Q) What kind of time commitments are involved with playing roller derby?
A) Practice takes up about four hours per week. When you first get started, you can attend practice on Wednesday from 7-9pm where there are New Skater trainers to work with you. After you pass your minimum skills assessment and rules test, you can practice with the team and participate in full contact scrimmages! You will also need to factor in time for bout days, both home and away, and occasional volunteer hours to keep our team running. Derby is an entirely DIY effort!
Q) What can I expect when I join your New Skater program?
A) First, you’ll learn basic skills, including how to fall, stop, and perform crossovers. Once you’re stable on your skates and ready to move into more advanced concepts, such as blocking, hitting, and forming a pack, you can start attending Killa Crew practice. We run New Skater evaluations as needed, not on a schedule, so as soon as our training team feels you’re ready, you can take your physical and written tests. After you pass, you become a full member of KDD and are eligible to be placed on a roster for Killa Crew.
Q) How long does it take to pass evals?
A) It depends entirely on the skater. Someone who’s been athletic her whole life may pass in a month. Some of us take over a year and need to retake our evaluations several times. The biggest factors are effort and dedication — the harder you work, the faster you’ll pass.
Q) What gear do I need to get started?
A) You’ll need a helmet, elbow, and knee pads, wrist guards, a mouth guard, and of course, quad roller skates (sorry, no roller blades). We have helmets, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads available to borrow until you get your own. Rollerworld has roller skates to rent until you purchase a pair of your own.
Q) Are there any other costs associated with playing roller derby?
A) There are some costs when you first get started. You will need to eventually purchase your own skates, helmet, and pads. You have to purchase your home and away jerseys when you get rostered for your first bout. Skaters need to purchase insurance through WFTDA once a year. The cost is $75, and is necessary, even if you already have health insurance. Lastly, we pay monthly dues. The $40 a month fee pays for our practice space.
Q) I know I want to play! What kind of equipment should I buy?
A) Don’t buy ANY equipment without consulting your New Skater coach or a trusted skater first! Since there is an upfront cost when you first get started, we want to make sure you are buying the appropriate gear for the sport and your needs.
Q) Gear is expensive. Where can I try it on so I know I get the right size?
A) When you’re ready to buy gear, Javelin owns a skate shop, Skating not Hatin. Amy, the owner of our practice space at Rollerworld, can also order gear for you.
Q) I want to learn more about the rules of roller derby. Where can I do that?
A) WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) has a great website that can answer many questions about the rules of the sport. Visit them at www.wftda.com
If you have any other questions, please ask Jessie Girl. We’re here to help your transition to the derby world roll smoothly.