Roller Derby: The Debate of Sport vs. Spectacle

Is roller derby considered a legitimate sport in the eyes of the public? Many feel that with the quirky names and costumes, that makes it more “spectacle” than “sport.” However, who can deny the sheer athleticism that goes into being a successful derby league? There is no denying that roller derby is physically challenging; it demands strength, stamina, and skill from skaters. It requires a high level of commitment, coupled with determination and passion. It is intensely team-oriented (though that is not to say that for an activity to be considered a sport it requires a team, there are many that don’t). Seems to me that roller derby is as much a sport as any other traditional one, requiring just as much athleticism from its participants.


Here are some articles from folks who agree that roller derby IS a legitimate sport:


Goddard’s Letter Boxes

Any Sport Any Time

Derby Life


And here are some interesting articles from people of the opposite opinion:

True Slant

The Morning Bulletin


This debate raises a provoking question: would dropping the “unconventional” names and outfits silence the naysayers who maintain that roller derby is just a different form of theater, rather than a sport?

But then again, does it even matter what they say?

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