BENNINGTON -- Pownal resident Amy Moore has started a flat track roller derby league, Southshire Roller Derby, in Bennington. Previously, Moore had to commute to Albany, Northampton, and Keene, for seven years in order to participate in the sport she loves.
The new league is open to men and women over 18 years of age. Roller derby is a full contact sport played on quad roller skates that is fast-paced and highly strategic.
"This wouldn’t be possible without the creativity of Jon Goodrich with Vermont Mills Properties on Benmont," said Moore of the league’s new practice location. "We’re just starting out and don’t have much money. He has worked with us to find a co-tenant, a local wrestling club, to share this space and costs with us."
Skating experience is not required as Southshire Roller Derby will train people how to skate then continue training the skills required to compete or officiate flat track roller derby. Southshire Roller Derby has a limited amount of gear available to loan new skaters on a first come, first served basis.
The latest incarnation of roller derby grew out of Austin, Texas, in 2001 and allows players to compete on a flat track. Teams of up to 14 skaters play five skaters at a time in short stints called jams. Points are scored when the sole scoring member, called the jammer, passes opposing skaters in scoring passes. With both teams fielding jammers, roller derby is the only physical sport that plays offense and defense simultaneously.
With the initial resurgence of derby being built on women’s teams, some might believe roller derby is only for women.
"Originally I started out officiating for the Albany All Stars shortly after Amy joined because that was my only option," said Mark Moore, Amy’s husband and five-year men’s roller derby veteran. "But in 2009 we both transferred to Pioneer Valley Roller Derby which started the first men’s team and I’ve seen tremendous growth in the sport for both men and women since that time. I’m looking forward to seeing the turnout for Southshire Roller Derby and future cooperation with my league, Capital District Trauma Authority [in Albany]."
Rounding out the coaching staff for Southshire is Liza Goldberg, who recently relocated to Pownal from New Jersey. She brings 16 years of speed skating and roller derby experience to the league and has been coaching roller derby with Mark and Amy around the United States and Europe.