Rockabellas – LGBTIQ+ inclusive roller derby league
The Rockabellas roller derby league, in the outer suburbs of Adelaide, are on a roll when it comes to upholding the Good Sports value of being inclusive.
“Rockabellas are a mixed league. We have people of all genders, whether that is men, women or people who don’t identify with those definitions,” Teegan Green, league head trainer, says.
“There are many people on the committee who are LGBTQI+ identified. My partner Jenny is the league president. We have inclusive policies, so everyone is welcome at the club and treated with respect.”
The league covers three locations – Doomsday Rollers in Gawler, Toxic Cherries in Mount Barker, Prim Reapers in Noarlunga. It also has the Raiders Junior team. There are currently 81 members combined but the doors are always open to new members and guests.
What Teegan loves most about derby is its inclusive nature and how welcoming the players are, even when she travels interstate for competitions and training.
“It is very inclusive throughout the majority of derby leagues, compared to other sports. It brings people together. You look at this group of people who are all so different, and you wouldn’t think it would work; but it does!”
Inclusive sporting league
“Roller derby is a complicated sport,” Teegan laughs, while trying to explain her favoured form of physical activity.
Two teams compete, with five roller skaters each. There are four ‘blockers’ and a ‘jammer’ on each team. The jammer’s aim is to finish a lap around an oval track and get past the blockers to score points. The blockers try to prevent the jammer from the opposing team from getting through.
On track, it’s a fun and active game.
Off track, the Rockabellas want to make sure every member feels welcome in the league, no matter their background.
“A couple of years ago, we had a big bout in the lead-up to the marriage equality vote to raise awareness. That was a huge day. Everyone came dressed in the rainbow colours and it was a lot of fun.”
Currently, the Rockabellas are upskilling all league coaches. They are putting these senior club members through a free online course on inclusive coaching.
This will ensure that coaches are well-equipped to accept people from all walks of life – and genders – into their teams. They want to make sure that everyone feels supported in their needs and comfortable to be themselves while playing derby.
All ages community sport
The Rockabellas also make an effort to include people of all ages. They are one of only two leagues in the Adelaide area with a junior team.
“In Adelaide there are five leagues. We are the only mixed league [of seniors and juniors]. It provides a good package because parents and kids can both come. Our league is also unique in that we’re in the outer edges of Adelaide, the others are central,” says Teegan.
Rockabellas giving back to the community
“I love the culture and how we have a good community. I am the league head trainer but also the head coach at Gawler. We do everything together as a team. We’re all supportive.”
Recently, Rockabellas members volunteered many hours at the local Rotary club. They made up hundreds of ‘birthing packs’ to send to disadvantaged women in South Africa. These small medical kits can help in areas with inadequate maternal healthcare.
This year, the teams are planning to volunteer on Clean Up Australia Day.
“The community helps us, so we want to give back,” explains Teegan.
The Rockabellas teams love being a part of Good Sports. The league appreciates that the free program gives them resources and support to make their clubs more family-friendly. Teegan says it’s inspired them to be healthier and safer.
“We always ensure we’re following policies and procedures [for example related to alcohol management and smoke-free areas]. Everyone’s really taken it on board. We do the free fruit and water at all our games.”
The future is looking bright for this inclusive and community-minded roller derby league.
Photography from Photos by Parker.