Men's roller derby league
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
Michelle Wie qualified for the United States Golf Association men's tournament, Danica Patrick raced in the Daytona 500, now Neil Jeffrey is moving into the London roller derby scene at full speed.
Better known on the flat track as Bad Pitt, the Thames Fatales coach, in the Forest City Derby Girls League, is moving from the bench to the floor and getting some help to start his own Forest City Derby Guys league.
“It’s been good, but I think there’s some tentativeness with some guys because it’s been a sport that the resurgence has been really dominated by women,” Jeffrey said, about recruitment. “There’s definitely some interest, though.”
So far about 10 men have signed up to strap on roller skates, but the league is already on the move and passing expectations.
“This week I forwarded (Jeffrey) maybe seven emails, which is good. I think we would get one like once a month (at the beginning),” said Sonja “Sufferjet” Leal, president of the Forest City Derby Girls league since its inaugural year in 2006 and common-law wife to Jeffrey of 18 years. “I see the niche for it, I see why men want to join roller derby. It’s different, so who wouldn’t want to join roller derby?”
The shorts aren’t expected to be shorter, but the hits should be harder with men of all shape and sizes able to sign up.
It helps no skill level for the sport is required, so the hits to the ground may be a little harder at the start.
“We’ve got two gentleman that are roughly about 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8 and that’s off of skates,” said the men’s derby team coach “Notta Dave,” his name an inside joke for the sport as significant others, who don't help out the game, to the women players are called Derby Daves. “We also have guys who are 5-foot-2 and weigh probably 100 pounds soaking wet.”
But, you can’t hit what your eyes don’t see.
“The big guys, sure they have their advantage, but if you can’t see the person you can’t get them,” Notta Dave said. “We’ll teach you how to skate, we’ll teach you how to fall and we’ll teach you how to hit.”
Call them the Jackie Robinson of London roller derby or opposite-Billy Jean King’s of the Forest City, but don’t get in these men way because they’re coming in at full speed.
“It’s a chance to be in the forefront of something,” Jeffrey said with some laughter. “This is the beginning of men’s roller derby in London, like the modern version of it. It’s the beginning, so greats to be here at day one.”
For more information on the Forest City Derby Guys, visit facebook.com/forestcityderbyguys.
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