Team Infernos schools the competition in a battle royale for gold at Darwin Outgames
Maiden in Shiner also known as Cassie Brown – President of the Darwin Roller Girls and captain of the victorious team Infernos at the Darwin Outgames, waxes lyrical on the joys of roller derby.
Brown has been playing roller derby for the past three to four years and says her interest in the sport was first sparked when friends mentioned roller derby to her and suggested she would love it. After watching Whip It on repeat, she immediately took to the internet in search of a local team and finally discovered one – the Darwin Roller Girls.
“I went along and I watched it. A girl lent me her skates and I tried it again and I was sold.”
Having not donned a pair of skates since she was about ten, Brown says had some skills, but learned most things whilst on the rink.
“You don't have to be experienced with the Darwin Roller Girls,” says Brown. "There are some leagues where you have to be at a high level and know your stuff. But Darwin Roller Girls is a rec league. We train hard and we take our travel team very seriously, but we teach everyone how to skate and be safe. We’ll take anyone.”
Brown tells GNN she was humbled when her sport was approached to be included in the games. “The Outgames is an exciting event It was very humbling for our sport to be offered to be an official sport in a multi-sport event, and we hoped it would be an entertaining addition to the Outgames.”
Certainly derby’s proved a popular choice with the punters. 100s of spectators turned up to watch today’s bout. “It’s such an empowering sport –it attracts strong independent women and it's really helped my self-esteem and confidence,” says Brown. “And it’s helped my health as well – I wasn't a happy person or a healthy person before derby. I struggled with a lot of things and roller derby really gave me something I was good at, and to strive towards.”
Today’s medal winning bout has proved another highlight. "Usually in derby you win some kind of really random trophy that someone made in their back shed – which is great because we love the personality behind it. But to win a medal is pretty awesome and something very different."
Asked if there is a typical roller derby girl, Brown is adamant there isn’t one. “Roller derby girls, off the track, come from anywhere – from all walks of life. In our league we have a doctor, teachers, nurses, gardeners, we have youth workers… roller derby is for anyone. If contact sport and being on skates isn’t for you – there’s refereeing and officiating…"
Watch any roller derby match and at some point there will be an injury – whether it's as simple as a bump or bruise or as serious as a broken bone. Brown says that’s the danger with any contact sport but explains the sport is always played with safety in mind.
"We know what we’re up against and we know the risks we take and we are an injury preventative league and try to always increase and improve how we train to make sure we are safe.”
As for the best thing about roller derby, Brown’s answer is immediate… "The friendships. These people are like family.”