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“Our league was started DIY-style,” Von Bitch says. She recalls having to learn the hard way in 2007, with players regularly breaking bones while getting to grips with the game.

“We had no idea what we were doing, we had to learn everything from YouTube,” she says. But Von Bitch is now an expert. She teaches me some basic moves.

LRR are all about controlled aggression, so newbies have to pass a ‘Fresh Meat’ course before they’re allowed to get involved in a scrimmage. During this three-month course beginners learn how skate, fall properly, how to barge (no punching, no elbowing, no kicking or attacking the face).

While Fresh Meat classes limit the risks involved, it’s still not a sport for the feeble.

“We’re proud of our war wounds,” Jack Attack says. “Bruises are common, they’re like badges of honour.”

From my short skating session, it becomes apparent that roller derby is hugely inclusive – whatever your athletic ability, body shape, cultural background or gender (there are also men’s leagues and transsexuals are welcomed), you can play roller derby. Jack Attack explains large and small ladies are needed for different roles.

And it is an intense workout. “Everyone new tones up, loses weight and works everything from their legs to their coordination,” Jack Attack says. 

“You become obsessed with it, and I’ve never had so many female friends. You become mentally tough, it makes you physically stronger, and when you sign up, you also adopt a big family.”

Fresh Meat tryouts cost £8 per session or £40 per month. The next match is on December 15.
londonrockinrollers.co.uk

Photos: Llewellyn Cass and LRR


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