A view into the continuing evolution of the niche-yet-global sport through the historical lens of Ohio Roller Derby, one of the founding leagues of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
This modern sport, with its alternative, punk rock culture, is often a place for those who’ve struggled within the mainstream. But even as the sport is often home for historically marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community, roller derby organizations and participants often mirror and experience the same inequities as those in the world surrounding them. In a full-contact, theatrical sport that some consider revolutionary, the authors show that gaining truly radical self-knowledge is an ongoing, difficult process that requires love, teamwork, discipline, critical consideration of one’s local and global societies, and—above all else—one’s place and action within them.
Samantha Tucker (she/her) is an antiracist teacher, writer, and editor in Columbus, Ohio. Sam writes personal essays, memoir, and cultural critique, having earned her MFA and MA in creative nonfiction. Her essay “Fountain Girls,” originally published in Ecotone, is a listed notable in Best American Essays 2017 and is anthologized in Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: An Anthology. Other essays have been published with Literary Hub, Columbus Alive, BUST, Brevity, and Guernica. In her spare time, Sam loves protest, mutual aid, roller derby, and karaoke.
Amy Spears (she/her) graduated from Denison University with a degree in cinema and creative writing. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she is in her second decade as a skater with Ohio Roller Derby. She spent several years active in the leadership of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association and has given presentations, workshops and talks about the sport at Pecha Kecha Columbus, the Roller Derby World Summit, and Rollercon. Her digital essay (with Julie Driscoll) “Worlds Collide! facebook, family & George Costanza” was published in Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion, and her prose and poetry have appeared in Columbus Alive, Lynx Eye, and Wine X. A self-described “collector of hobbies,” she’ll try just about anything once.