2012: Advent Roller Derby: What’s in a name?

by on December 11, 2012

There is a convention among rollergirls that no two skaters can have the same name. There is an enormous list of them at Two Evils, names like Metallikat, Snot Rocket Science, Ewan Wotarmy, Napoleon Blownapart, Barrie DeHatchet and #04 Fox Sake.

It all started with the revival from Texas in 2003, when women from Austin realized they were missing something from their lives, and that thing was roller derby. Fast forward almost ten years to now, and there are enough registered skate names that it takes me 39.7 seconds of continuous scrolling to get from the top of the Two Evils list to the bottom. And I can tell you for a fact that that is not a comprehensive list of all the names in the world, because despite my opening sentence, European and Australasian rollergirls are beginning to realise that they will probably never skate in the same bout as American rollergirls, so why worry if they have almost identical names?

That leads me to the next question: why do rollergirls use different names anyway?

The best answer I can come up with is that it’s traditional, but really I think it’s probably clinging onto the last bit of the “fishnets and tutus” that roller derby used to be. Thankfully we’ve mostly moved on from the latter, more towards being a real sport with real rules and real competitors, but we don’t seem to be quite ready to ditch the wacky names. There are exceptions, of course, and slowly skaters are starting to use their own “real” names.

I’m just glad that I don’t have to make the choice!

One Response to “What’s in a name?”

  • Chris Siddall FKA Splint Eastwood says:

    There’s also a couple of other factors that have come into play in the new revival of Roller Derby. Players come from a fairly wide range of backgrounds. And having a ‘Derby Name” allows you to craft a playing persona on track that isn’t the same as your everyday image. Part of that is becoming your own hero, and being able to separate derby life from work/home life. Playing different roles in different sphere’s of their lives. Kudos to the likes of Stef Mainey of LRG who now skate under their own names.

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