Roller Derby Is Just What You Need To Shake Up Your Workout Routine
There’s way more to roller derby than chicks in fishnets beating each other. SA derby player Sam Baloyi gives you a crash course in toughening up.
You’d be forgiven for thinking roller derby, the sport you’re likely associating with Ellen Page in the film Whip It is just that – a thing they do in the movies. You’re wrong. A thriving community of derby girls exists right under your nose – and they’re the total badasses you thought they were. Just ask Sam Baloyi (derby name Samurai), a derby player from Durban who repped South Africa at the World Games in Manchester in February. She’d stumbled into the sport after a colleague asked her to come check it out. The feats of athleticism are what fascinated Sam. “They weren’t just rolling around aimlessly, they were doing things that I had thought were impossible – on skates!” says Sam. After her first session, she was hooked.
Not For Sissies
First things first: while the sport is kind of like rugby in skates, it’s not as violent as you’d think, says Sam. “If I punch somebody in the face, that is gross misconduct,” she says. Still, you have to be able to take several hits. “These are no shrinking daisies,” says Sam. “These ladies are hard-core beauties, and you’re constantly falling. The best part is that everybody picks themselves right back up and they get back in the game.”
Do It For The Abs
Being on wheels, moving at a high speed while trying to score points for your team makes derby a high impact, high-intensity sport that’ll easily be the easiest way to melt kilojoules and sculpt your tum. “To be able to stay upright on your skates, you need to engage your core. To be able to take a hit, you need to engage your core,” says Sam. And of course, your tush gets major attention from skating in a semi-squat to stay stable for the duration of the game.
Want to see it in action? Check out this incredible video from Red Bull:
The sport is open to everyone, but it’s generally considered a women’s sport. Which is probably why people are shocked to learn how much shoving goes on around the rink. “Society likes to prescribe what a good woman, a good mother, a good daughter is, and I find that full contact is not the type of thing you’d associate with a female sport,” says Sam. “But roller derby is a form of self-expression, a form of breaking boundaries and of breaking stereotypes. It’s a form of empowerment for women.”
Derby can teach you things about yourself. Aside from being able to take a hit, you’ll break barriers within yourself. “In derby, we call bruises a badge of honour,” says Sam. “It’s a battle scar that you proudly show off because you took a knock and got back up again. You can do more than you think you can, and you’re stronger than you think.