Roller Derby Thunderbirds


Greta King skates around the track in a warm up activity

Let’s get ready to roll(er derby)!

Bloomington’s Thunderbird junior roller derby league is back in action this season and you can join the team. This co-ed sport is open to anyone at North who wants to learn how to become a skilled skater.

This intense sport is a great and safe way to exercise. To junior Greta King, skating is a healthy and effective way to get aggression out.

“I really like how aggressive it is,” King said. “But is isn’t aggressive outside of the track. Most of the teams we’ve gone against have been really positive and have had a really good attitude.”

Her favorite part is getting closer to her teammates. Roller derby forges a close connection between players because you must work closely together while keeping your eye on the finish line.

On the flip side, King believes that the hardest part of this sport is staying mindful of your teammates strengths and weaknesses. To win a match you need to work with your team’s skill level to keep the flow together.

Despite its reputation, roller derby is a relatively safe activity. The Junior Roller Derby Association requires players to be covered head to toe in protective gear. Helmets, knee pads, ankle guards and mouth guards are the minimum of what players must have on at all times. The purpose of this is so that when players fall, they are properly protected.

“Physically [falling] doesn’t hurt at all if you fall correctly on your gear,” King said.

Players must go through rigorous safety training from the minute the step on the track. Teaching players to fall and how to not hurt others is an integral part of this fast-paced sport.

“It is not a sport where you are going to stay upright the whole time,” King said. “There is going to be a lot of falling […] and you just have to prepare yourself for when you fall.”

According to King, if you fall correctly the worse that can happen is getting the breath knocked out of you. Concussions happen, but only when players don’t fall on their protective gear.

King started the junior league a few years ago after her mother got her into the sport. She helps coach the new skaters and continues to improve her own skill so that she may reach the skill level needed to be on the adult team in a few years.

Joining the team is simple, you just need to show up ready to fill out some forms with your parents.

All skill levels or students interested in checking out the sport, open practices are held each Tues and Fri at 6:30-7:30 at the Cardiac Arena on 1801 N Curry Pk.