Think you know everything about roller derby? Some have the perception that it’s riot grrrls in fishnets, punching the shizz outta each other on skates. Well, did you know that it started in the 1930s, was rebooted in the early 2000’s, and has 1,500 leagues around the world today? Don’t worry, this isn’t a derby pop quiz, but here’s your opportunity to help learn about some famous jammers!
Margot Atwell, some might know her on the flat track as the kick-ass Em Dash, has been skating with the New York league, Gotham Girls Roller Derby, for seven years. She’s also helped the league’s business run smoothly, by doing PR, and keeping their finances in check. In 2011, she co-founded the website Derbylife.com, which focuses on roller derby culture.
Em Dash with one of her derby cliques, Manhattan Mayhem
When I chatted with Margot last week, she told me there aren’t many printed resources for derby. This inspired her to write and independently publish an intro book to the derbyverse, entitled, Derby Life: Stories, Advice & Wisdom from the Roller Derby World.
“I really wanted to take the work that I was creating on DerbyLife, and create something more lasting, that’s a little easier to access for someone who’s new to the sport,” says Atwell.
Some of Margot’s derby memorabilia
With her background in book publishing, Margot’s publishing Derby Life on her own. And here’s where you come in! With a contribution to her Kickstarter campaign, you’ll be helping Margot publish and distribute Derby Life (plus you’ll get some perks too!).
The book includes pieces from Derbylife.com, insight from derby legends, business advice for new leagues, and tips for how to deal with some pretty gnarly injuries.
Margot also discusses the culture and empowerment of roller derby, which she believes is a feminist sport. Derby was only known as a women’s sport during its rebirth, and men’s leagues didn’t start popping up until 2007. “It’s the only sport I know of where the men’s version is kind of playing catch-up, and it’s not as established as the women’s,” says Atwell.
Em Dash and The Wall Street Traitors
For more info and to donate for this awesome exploration into derby, please visit Margot’s Kickstarter here, and check out the video!
Photo and video credit: Manish Gosalia and Margot Atwell.