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Skaters Gonna Skate: The Rocket City Rebels Want Your Kid

Skaters Gonna Skate: The Rocket City Rebels Want Your Kid

practice with the Rocket City Rebels roller derby team in Huntsville AL

Are those old familiar cries of “get the kids out of the house!” or “they need to be doing something active!” ringing through your household? Or maybe you have a child who hasn’t fit in well with other activities, and you want to try something new? Or both? The Rocket City Rebels could be just the thing.

Part of the Madison County Junior Roller Derby League, the Rocket City Rebels began in 2012. They are a roller derby team for children from 8 to 18. The Rebels play their home bouts at the Insanity Complex in Madison, where they enjoy a close relationship with their adult sister team, the Dixie Derby Girls.

“If you don’t want to get hit, it’s not going to be a good fit.” – Coach Angel

The Rules of a Bout

Roller derby is a contact sport for opposing teams of roller skaters, both skating counterclockwise on a closed circuit. Each team’s “jammer” tries to score by lapping members of the opposing team. “Blockers” try to clear the way for their own jammer, as well as hinder the opposing jammer. Each team has a 15-player roster for a bout, with up to five players on the track for each “jam.”

This is fun to watch. It’s a blast to play. And it takes all types.

Who Can Be a Rocket City Rebel?

One of the best things about the Rocket City Rebels is that all kids ages 8-18 are welcome. Boys can play. Girls can play. All body types can play. It can be a wonderful sport for kids who want to do something but haven’t fit in elsewhere, as there is no “typical” roller derby athlete.

Moreover, the Rebels prioritize equitable playing time over pure pursuit of rankings. So if your kid has gotten excited about playing other sports and put the practice work in only to ride the bench, this could be the ticket.

So who is it NOT good for? “If you don’t want to get hit, it’s not going to be a good fit,” Rocket City Rebels President Angel Little laughed when I asked the question. But the camaraderie and team dynamic can be highly positive. “You would be surprised at the ones that come out of their shells. They still might be shy and not talk much. But they get on the track, they build up some confidence and do their thing,” Little continued.

The season begins in the spring and ends about the time school starts in the late summer/early fall. During the season, the Rocket City Rebels play at home at the Insanity Complex, but also travel to bouts elsewhere in the Southeast. The team practices twice a week. Costs to play are generally in line with other organized children’s sports.

But Is It Safe?

Roller derby is a decidedly physical activity, and players wear helmets and pads. It is rigorously officiated to help minimize injury, and while they do happen, they are generally at a level consistent with any other contact sport. And, while the season runs in the spring and summer, know that roller derby is a year-round pursuit. The sport requires consistent practice and conditioning, so the players see and work with the team year-round. In that regard, it has some things in common with other disciplined pursuits, such as karate or gymnastics.

How to Get Involved

If you’re interested in considering the Rocket City Rebels for your children, have a look at the schedule and come check out a home bout. All of the home bouts are double-headers with the Rebels’ all-female adult sister league, the Rocket City Roller Derby League. The Rebels go on at 4:30 PM with the RCRDL following at 7:00 PM, and there are concessions and an atmosphere of spectacle to make an evening of it.

If your kids want to give it a go, the annual two-week boot camp is usually held in the Fall. (Watch the web site for specific scheduling).

For more information on exploring the Rocket City Rebels for your child, or to learn about becoming a team sponsor or purchasing advertising, visit the Rocket City Rebels website.

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