Want your kids to play a sport that helps them build confidence and lets them have fun? Then you might want to look at signing them up for Little Brisbane Roller Girls, a full-contact roller derby league that aims to keep kids safe and participating in sport without judgement.
Founded back in 2011 By Hattie Lulham and Renae Mckean as a class at Digi Skate in Hillcrest, the decision was made in December last year to change format and become a league. Now a not-for-profit organisation, their aim is to bring roller derby to everyone.
The coaching staff are patient and understanding, and naturally all have Blue cards. Along with the regular coaching staff, guest coaches from the top teams around Australia regularly pop in to pass on their knowledge and spread the roller derby gospel.
There will also be an opportunity to participate in many workshops with other junior teams from all over the country, giving young girls the opportunity to meet other players and learn skills from some of the best players in roller derby today.
“As a parent, I have a daughter that has found a sport where she feels she belongs and can achieve at and has made great friends in her team mates,” says Lorraine Shaw, the mother of Little Brisbane Roller Girl Zobi-wan Kenobi (just like their adult counterparts, it’s a tradition for Little Brisbane Roller Girls to fashion their own colourful identities). “It is awesome to see how much she has improved both in confidence and ability. I am so proud of her.”
Recently, the League welcomed its first boy skaters, who call themselves Sk8-T and Ferret. “It is great team bonding,” says their mum, Kerri Burke, “not just for the kids but the parents as well. Being a full-contact sport, it’s hard to see not just your kids, but also the other kids, get knocked down, so it’s great to have the other parents there supporting each other.”
Kellie Davidson is the President of the League and the head coach, and has seen girls grow in confidence and ability since the league started late last year. “The kids have responded really well to the program we have running and are itching to learn so much more,” she says. “We have one skater who, five months ago, was afraid to do anything on her skates, and this weekend she played in the first JRDA (Junior Roller Derby Association) sanctioned game. She played so well, and has started ramp skating on a half-pipe. She’s had a massive boost in her confidence because of roller derby.”
Of course, one of the most important things to consider when you sign your kids up for a sport is how much it’s going to cost. Each LBRG training session costs $10, and the yearly membership fee is $80. (This is on a pro rata basis, and goes down in price as the year goes along.) Insurance is required to play and train for roller derby. There are two levels of insurance — Fresh Meat ($40 per calendar year) and Competitive ($65 per calendar year). Once your kids pass the Fresh Meat stage and are bout-ready, you can upgrade their insurance to Competitive for $15. There is a fair bit of equipment involved and this can vary in price, but a start-up kit — including skates, pads, helmet and mouth guard — should set you back around $250.
If you’re interested, you can visit the Little Brisbane Roller Girls website for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to come down to training and get a feel for it, Little Brisbane Roller Girls train on Mondays from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Mt Warren Park Sports Arena on Milne Street, Mt Warren Park.
Would you sign your kids up for roller derby? Do you know about any other interesting sports kids can play in Brisbane? Let us know in the comments below!