THE INTERNATIONAL RANKING GEM CITY ROLLER DERBY IS BACK
ON THE TRACK AND BETTER THAN EVER
The women’s flat track roller derby is finally back after a nearly three-year COVID safety hiatus. Adopting the motto “Stay Ready”, Dayton’s own Gem City Roller Derby (GCRD) league continued to hone its skills and strengthen its strategies as many leagues remained closed. Ranked 61st in the world in 2019, GCRD looks stronger than ever heading into their season-opening double header against Kalamazoo Roller Derby on saturday april 16 at 5:00 p.m. at the Dayton South Metro Sportsplex.
Fast, punchy and hard-hitting, roller derby is not a sport for the faint-hearted. However, the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA) takes the safety of its players very seriously. For this reason, women’s roller derby has some of the strictest COVID safety protocols in place in all of sport. While many teams have ceased training altogether as a result of COVID-19, GCRD has found ways to stay active while adhering to the WFTDA’s seven-level “return to play” guidelines.
Gem City Roller Derby Public Relations and Media Co-Chair Kristina “Ruthless Skater Ginsburg” Coen described the league’s first practices as “something we all really had to do. Gem City isn’t just a sports league, it’s a chosen family. For many of us, roller derby is a stress reliever and an outlet for the frustrations of everyday life. During the pandemic, we needed it more than ever. »
As for how the league managed to stay active during the pandemic, Coen said, “We trained as best we could. We did virtual off-skate workouts on Skype. We practiced outside in the summer heat. We practiced 6 feet apart in small 4 foot squares. Once we were able to reconnect, we practiced in small designated groups. We basically did whatever it took to be able to continue training.
Coen said that while it wasn’t always easy to stay motivated, the general attitude in the League was positive. “We are all very happy to be here. Coach Chris is full of ideas and enthusiasm and it’s just contagious. Our assistant coach, “B. Noddy” and official manager, “Scotchy Scotch Scott” are both invaluable resources with decades of combined roller derby experience. We are really lucky to have them.
GCRD President Ang “Archangel Anarchy” Garcia said, “We are incredibly proud of our league. Our accomplishments are the result of hours and hours of continuous and genuine effort by all of our members – skating athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers. The most beautiful gemstones form under pressure, don’t they? These last three years have been incredibly difficult, but I think we have had the culture, the fortune, the knowledge and skills to pull us together. As individuals and as a collective, this is the strongest Gem City it has ever been!
The doors open for the first match at 5:00 p.m. at the South Metro Sportsplex Courthouse, 10561 Success Ln, Centerville, OH. Ticket prices are free for children under 12, $7 for 12-17 year olds and $12 presale for adults ($15 at the door). Pre-sale tickets and the competitive season schedule are available on the GCRD website and social media pages.
GCRD’s December 2021 “Stay Ready” exhibition is sold out, so pre-ordering tickets is strongly encouraged.
If you want to learn more about Dayton’s top ranked roller derby league or want to get involved, you can find more information at gemcityrollerderby.com or you can like and follow Gem City Roller Derby on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Gem City Roller Derby (GCRD), established in 2006, is a 501c3 registered non-profit sports organization.
GCRD is a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).
Photo credit: Samantha “Bruise Springsteen” Redrow