Sep 2015 07

My Love Letter to Those That Make It Happen

by Laur’n Disorder

Roller Derby representation in the mainstream media remains unfortunately predictable. Sometimes dubbed (mostly by me) the “By day/By night” phenomenon,  you can depend on media coverage of Roller Derby to focus exclusively on the skaters. All the flash and skill of the game, all the fun of the sport with the occasional (somewhat reluctant) nod to the athleticism and commitment of the players. People unfamiliar with the sport tend to focus solely on the game happening on the track.

The truth is the bout is the result of the tireless efforts of people who will often not get any of the glory. Leagues make the effort to recognise these people, they work like dogs and without them there is no Roller Derby. This is just my attempt to express my gratitude (in no particular order) to the following people:

The Non Skating Official (NSO)

These are the people you see around the edges of the track and clustered in the middle not wearing skates or team colours. In a screaming crowd they must remain totally neutral. They will be wearing what our league has lovingly termed ‘Beige Face’, the gently bland facial expression they must maintain even when their team is so fabulous they can’t stand it. These are the score keepers, the penalty trackers, the box timers. They need to know the rules, interpret what is happening on the track and react instantly. NSO’s can be ridiculously undervalued for the work they do, the bouts and tournaments we love would be impossible without them. Considering they do such vital work it must be really frustrating when they are left unacknowledged or worse are left to cop a lot of the flack.

As a role, NSO is also a great way to get to grips with the sport, but every week it can be a struggle to get enough people to have a proper scrimmage.

I would therefore like to thank the NSO’s for their quiet awesomeness.

Photo by Double Time Imagery


Team Zebra, where would we be without you?

In Roller Derby referees are a precious commodity. Many spend their nights and weekends travelling between different leagues training sessions, not to mention coaching skaters on the rules and checking we are all safe. These people work hard to keep on top of the intricacies of Derby, and believe me Roller Derby gets complicated. They can also be the subject of under appreciation and sometimes even outright hostility. Yes, there are very occasionally calls that as a skater you may not agree with. But there are also great calls, there are hours spent reviewing rules and training so that the game can function. I think that the referees can get a lot of negativity directed at them that they absolutely do not deserve.

Those that enforce rules are never popular but without them there is no Roller Derby, only girls on skates beating the crap out of each other.

I would therefore like to thank the Refs for their tough love.


The Committee

The Roller Derby world runs on committees. In S2D2, committee members are so good at their job it often appears effortless.

These are the people who spent hours upon hours sourcing venues, trainers, chairs, tape, equipment, endless jobs that all need to happen before anyone can even put on skates. People who dedicate themselves organising schedules, plans, events. People who will face a endless well-meaning feedback over any decision they make but are the only people willing to get up and make decisions. Committee work often seems thankless, even to those of us on the outside. It is not just the actual physical work that needs to be done but the management to get the best out of everyone, making all the tough decisions for the good of the league.

Without the Committee the league is just a group of people that don’t know when to meet and are without a venue.

I would therefore like to thank the Committee for their superhuman patience.

Training at Menai Indoor Sports Centre

The Trainers and Coaches

The people who go out of their way to see that we level up as a league, not just committing to their own training but putting in the time to help others. It’s easy to forget sometimes that the trainer or coach who might be pushing you more that you’re comfortable with is doing it because they believe you can do better. Every session requires hours of thought and preparation, even the most well planned session must be fully adaptable. These are the people who forgo their own training time to help others improve.

I would therefore like to thank the Trainers and Coaches for believing in us more than we sometimes do.


The Volunteers and Supporters

The families, friends, and allies. The people who pay to watch us bout, buy the merch, donate their time and skill, and provide an unwavering support that get us through. The people who bake goodies for cake stalls, work behind the counter selling, and the usually pay for a treat when their done. The people who convince friends and family to come see the awesome sport they follow, who make signs, sit for hours to cheer their teams.

I would therefore like to thank the Volunteers and Supporters for their ongoing commitment to the Darkside.

S2D2 Supporters

South Side, Strong Side!


There are more people than I’ve listed here (photographers, sponsors, charity partners, and venues all come to mind) that should be thanked more. I hope that we continue to benefit from their work, we should certainly take the time to express our gratitude!



Aug 2015 24

Our 2015 season of the 5×5 Championship has come to a close and there’s only one thing left…  It’s the 5×5 Grand Final Spectacular where we find out who is the ARMAGEDDON and BATTLEGROUNDS Champions.

We’re excited to be playing Varsity again, as every match against them this season has been a nail biter and gone right down to the last couple of jams.

Visit our Facebook page to hear some more from ‘The Force’ in the lead up to the grand final and what have been the highlights of 5×5 this year for them – 2015 5×5 Roller Derby Championship ‘The Force’ Profiles.


Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.24.35 am

1pm – Blue Mountains vs Northern Beaches – BATTLEGROUNDS 3rd place Playoff
3pm – Sydney vs Newcastle – ARMAGEDDON 3rd place Playff
5pm – Central Coast vs Inner west – BATTLEGROUNDS Championship
7pm – South Side vs Varsity (Canberra) – ARMAGEDDON 5×5 Roller Derby Championship

Saturday August 29
Whitlam Leisure Centre
90A Memorial Ave, Liverpool
Doors open at 12.30
Limited tickets available at the door for $15
Kids under 12 are FREE

Tickets available now
Limited tickets available at the door for $15
Kids under 12 are FREE

Jul 2015 02

Round 5 moves South West Sydney north to Central Coast as Central Coast Roller Derby United play host to our final round of regular season play before our playoff round. Our four bouts start from 1pm. Doors open from 12.30.

5x5 2015 R5
1pm – South Side vs Wollongong (A)
3pm – Northern Beaches vs Inner West (B)
5pm – Newcastle vs Varsity (Canberra) (A)
7pm – Central Coast vs Blue Mountains (B)

Saturday July 18
Central Coast Youth Club
Washington Ave Niagara Park
Doors open at 12.30

Tickets available now
Limited tickets available at the door for $15
Kids under 12 are FREE



South Side (S2D2) def. Wollongong (WIRD) 289 – 119

Thanks to Downunder Derby TV and Sydney Derby Skates for the broadcast.

Jun 2015 29

Hello, my name is Atomic Bombshell, and I am a geek.


To be quite honest, I can’t say that I’m really all that ashamed of being a geek. Quite the opposite. In the wonderful words of Simon Pegg (whom you may know from Star Trek and Shaun of the Dead):

“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”

Being able to love what you love and never have to act like you’re too cool for school? Sign me up!

I’m also a person who never quite felt like she belonged.

The hunt for a tribe is one that most people are familiar with. I had heard of this crazy roller derby thing from a few different places, but I’d always felt like I wasn’t tough enough, or brave enough, or badass enough. Derby girls were the next level of awesome in my mind, and I wasn’t quite sure that I was cool enough to join in. Without league members like KillaBee and Anklebiter, that image would have stayed in my mind forever. I’m very glad to say that isn’t the case.

I decided I needed my own hero- and because I’ve always loved the idea of having a secret identity, I decided to become my own.


I seized my courage, bought a pair of skates and in October 2014, I signed up for Fresh Meat with the South Side Derby Dolls. I found a group of people who had named their travel teams The Force and The Empire (I have a deep and abiding love of Star Wars, borne from a father who tricked me into watching Episode IV when I was 7 with the promise of a princess). And I found teammates who had named themselves like Marty McDie, Sailor Doom, Gnarley Quinn, Sin Siti and Bruise Wayne… It was obvious right away that these were my people – I’d found my tribe.

League Photo

When I found out that the League would be attending Supanova in Sydney, I was all over it like a rash. Any event that celebrates the aforementioned awesomeness of being a geek is a-okay with me, and the fact that my league was going to be in the thick of that awesomeness, I was more than happy to give up my time and promote the awesomeness of roller derby.

I spotted plenty of Harley Quinns (and there was one Harley that stood out in particular- a New 52 Harley Quinn on roller skates!), a few Jon Snows (thankfully SPOILER ALERT still walking and breathing). I got selfies with Princess Belle, Kaylee Frye (my all time favourite Joss Whedon character), Thor and Captain America.
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I was like a kid in candyland with all the cosplay, but that wasn’t really what stood out for me. The most intriguing and interesting thing that happened when I manned the booth was chatting to people and seeing that moment. That moment when you chat to a person who is staring at the booth, looking a mix of intrigued and shy. Someone who was once like me- fascinated by derby, but not quite sure if they’re enough of a badass to actually give it a go… Someone who is unashamedly geeky, on the search for a tribe; and someone who maybe might see if our “cupcakes and rainbows” roller derby league is the place for them. Roller derby has been an absolutely transformative experience in my life and I really, really hope that I played a part in someone strapping on a pair of skates and becoming their own superhero.


My choice in my derby name is quite obvious… I love the 1950s and I’m pint sized. I’ve had more than one person ask about my derby number. I’m not an ’84 baby and the 0 at the front doesn’t really make much sense. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an 0-8-4 is an Object of Unknown Origin. Thor’s hammer was one in the first Thor film, as was the Obelisk, The Plasma Particle Beam and Skye in the television offshoot of the movies, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. This year, one of Supanova’s guests was Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Dr Jemma Simmons on SHIELD. I couldn’t help myself, I had to have a photo. I very nervously walked into the booth, my Southside shirt in hand. I’d barely finished explaining that I play roller derby and I’d chosen my number because of the show before she’d whipped the shirt out of my hand and held it up to the camera. Needless to say, it was the Best. Day. Ever.


In summary… Southside Derby Dolls are awesome. Being a geek is awesome. Finding your tribe is awesome and always remember, no power in the ‘verse can stop you.

Love and derby kisses,

Atomic Bombshell xx

Jun 2015 25

South Side Derby Dolls has a place for skaters of all levels. From those playing in the highest level of competitive games to the person who bought skates yesterday with dreams of getting approved for contact. But there’s another group of people who train and work hard to help make every roller derby game safe, fair and fun. The S2D2 Droids is our team of officials both on and off skates.

Why are our officials called droids? Droids are an essential part of any organisation in the world of Star Wars. They’re always in the background offering translations, processing data and keeping things functioning. Some on wheels and some on foot. The S2D2 Droids are always active during roller derby games collecting scores, directing players and keeping games running.

Being an official is often overlooked even though it is an essential part of the game. Officiating can be hugely rewarding, enjoyable and a great way to participate in the game without the contact side of things. It is a great way to meet people. We asked our officials some questions about why they chose to become a droid and why they find it rewarding:

What do you enjoy about being a Droid?
“The people and the opportunities. I have met so many amazing people during my time involved in derby; people I would have never met in any other circumstance.” – Switzerland

“I like being part of the team. Not necessarily the “officials” team, but contributing and being an active member of my league is most important to me.” – Kaos Bob

“I’m enjoying being in a supportive team where I can take my time to learn things properly. I also still get to hang out with all my skater friends.” – Sweet Baby Cheeses

“I like working on a crew for a tournament and how that crew works better and better together each game they work.” – Totorod

“We sometimes travel a long way to help make derby happen. Some of my favourite games have been working closely with a mix of skill levels.” – Gory Numan

“I really enjoy the disciplines of being part of team zebra, receiving and giving support to fellow officials and of course I have met some great friends along the way.” – Wayne-o-War

“You instantly make so many friends and people who share your interest in derby. I also feel the league I skate for respects the officials and include us as just another skater on the track…we just happen to wear stripes.” – Boom Tish

Photo by Liam Mitchell Photography

Is being an official fun?
“I find NSOing great because simply it’s fun to do.” – Raven Nyx

“I like it when things click and I have lightbulb moments.” – Sweet Baby Cheese

“Made and get to work with great friends, warm fuzzies from helping facilitate a great sport, and getting my rules nerd on.” – Major Skateholder

“I like doing it right. Its always fun to learn but applying that to give the players and fans a smooth game is very satisfying. Also we get into games for free.” – Kaos Bob

Why did you become an official?
“I became an official to learn more about derby as my skating developed then fell in love with it so it made an easy choice to get more involved when I could no longer skate.” – Coch Less Monster

“I was living and breathing Derby as a fan, but it wasn’t enough so when S2D2 advertised for NSOs I had to give it a go. No choice.” – Kaos Bob

“Derby widow, refereed sportsball in the past so was comfortable with the concept of officiating.” – Major Skateholder

“My best friend at the time decided she wanted to play the derby and as much as I loved the sport it wasn’t for me. I decided I wanted to be behind the scenes, plus I love statistics, so I became an NSO.” – Boom Tish

“I started NSOing so I could learn the rules and hopefully end up being a better player. It was also a time where officials were pretty scarce in our region.” – Switzerland

“Our family grew up in and around roller rinks until family life got in the way and unfortunately roller skating took a back seat. many years later my wife found roller skating in the form of roller derby whilst I was overseas.” – Wayne-o-War

Are there some things you find hard about being an official?

“Time: it takes a big commitment to develop and maintain both skating skills and rules knowledge.” – Major Skateholder
“I’m a Derby fan first. That’s why I got into this. I find it hard not to cheer. Sometimes I have to take a game or two off just to watch and be part of the crowd.” – Kaos Bob
“I’m a perfectionist and a bit of a stress head so sometimes I really feel the pressure when it comes to doing things right quickly.” – Sweet Baby Cheeses
“One thing I find hard is not being able to stop and explain why a skater got a penalty.” – Totorod

You too can join the S2D2 Droids!
South Side Derby Dolls is always looking for new officials. To find out more come to our recruitment info session (28th June) and talk to some of our Droids. There are lots of great reasons to become an official:

  • Learn more about roller derby
  • Be an essential part of safe and fair games
  • Be part of a team working together
  • No skating required (some roles are on skates)
  • Non contact
  • Opportunities to help other leagues with their games and practice games


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