Flint Roller Derby Glides to Victory, Prepares for Next Season

Local roller derby team, Flint Roller Derby, crushed Anderson, Indiana’s A-Town Roller Derby, 374-51, on Saturday, Nov. 18, raising their record, 10-1, in their final game of the year. Coach Nicholas Cotton was impressed by the team’s play.

“Being down one of our top jammers, Ash Tray, we used a variety of jammers,” said Cotton. “Nine of twelve skaters jammed throughout the evening, with Grace Lightning and Blue Velvet leading the way as the most used jammers. Our defense was completely dominant, causing us to control the percentage of lead jams, limiting them (A-Town Roller Derby) to, at most, four.”

Although the score was lopsided, the game was tightly contested. However, the home team overpowered the Indiana squad. Flint Roller Derby team member Janna Elmslie noted the game was competitive to the final buzzer.

“Despite the large point difference, their offense wasn’t giving up and they laid some good hits on us,” said Elmslie, known as Tyrannojanna Wrex on the team. “Ultimately, we were able to counter their offense and reform our defense to maintain dominance over their jammers…I’m proud of how my team played and the discipline we’ve had throughout the year to earn the wins we’ve had this season.”

The team is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. In a prior incarnation, the team was know as the Flint City Derby Girls. In honor of such, the team has christened the campaign the “Decade of Derby.” On social media, the slogan may be accessed by #decadeofderby.

The team has also made great strides this year as a competitive roller derby force.

“Flint Roller Derby was accepted in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association as an apprentice member,” said Cotton. “That is the international governing body of the sport, which is the premier institution governing the game…Our team lost only one game and that was by one point. We captured the state championship at the Mitten Kitten tournament in Mackinaw City in mid-October, after finishing second last year. The team has grown to 14 players with a handful more in training.”

Participants of roller derby find the competition fulfilling for a multitude of reasons. Some point to personal affirmations, while others find the team unity and cohesion a positive attraction.

“Roller derby has significantly impacted my life,” said Lindsey Zarras, also known as WrayZer, a former UM-Flint student and Grand Blanc kindergarten teacher. “I joined boot camp in January of 2017. I had never roller skated before, but I was inspired by watching these amazingly strong women who played in Flint, so I decided to give it a try…I have since made friends that encourage me on and off the track. I am physically stronger and have a better self-image. I feel more confident in my daily life and I handle stressful situations better.  As well, I have enjoyed learning new skills and being part of a community that helps support everyone.”

Game play consists of a series of short match ups, known as jams, in which both teams designate a jammer who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team, with five members of each skating around the track. And yup, you guessed it–roller derby is definitely a contact sport.

“There are four blockers on the track from each team, each team attempting to play both offense and defense for their jammer,” said Cotton. “Each team has a jammer on the track. The jammers are racing to score points by passing the opposing blocker’s hips…The jammers race for two minutes or less. The first jammer who makes it through all of the blockers is declared the lead jam. The lead jammer has the ability to end the jam. There are as many jams as can take place within the two 30-minute halves. The team with the highest score becomes the winner.”


The next boot camp for interested skaters, with or without experience, will start early next year. Further details regarding the boot camp are available on the team’s social media pages. Their first home game of next year will occur on Saturday, May 5.

For further information about Flint Roller Derby, the sport, or how to try out, contact Flint Roller Derby via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Interested individuals may also email [email protected]