I loved watching roller derby as a kid even when it became as staged and over-the-top as pro wrestling, but the derby of today isn't like it was in the old days- and that's a good thing.
Nowadays most roller derby teams are all female and all about female empowerment, giving the women a rough and tumble sport to play and enjoy since they're excluded from so many other full contact sports.
Roller derby teams become like a ragtag family of fighters, and in Austin the women of the Texas Banked Track Roller Derby are taking the sport back to the good old days of grit, gravity and grievous bodily injury:
In the last few years, flat track leagues have led the sport's surging growth – there’s even one here in Austin – but TXRD plays on a banked wooden track, set up and taken down by volunteers at every match. Leagues that play on banked tracks are a kind of homage to roller derby's roots in the 1930s and '40s. Since the banked track heightens gravity's effect on the game's play, it brings bigger hits, harder bumps and messier wrecks.
"They are a bitch to build and a bitch to maintain, but the skating on a banked track is the old-school, bad ass way to do it," says Dusty Doublewide, a blocker and the team captain of the Rhinestone Cowgirls (Doublewide, like all roller girls, uses a "derby name.") "[Playing on a banked track] looks cooler, and when you hit hard, people fly through the rail. I still want to see that, even after skating for seven years."
-Via Rolling Stone