League Profile: Minnesota RollerGirls

Photo by Ryan Siverson
Photo by Ryan Siverson

Women’s Roller Derby
GLBT + Ally
Season: October – April

Founded in 2004, the Minnesota RollerGirls are founding members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the preeminent governing body for female, skater-owned, flat-track roller derby leagues. All participants are unpaid amateurs and the league provides insurance coverage for practices and bouts. The Minnesota RollerGirls were the first league in the country to have a professional arena for practices and bouts.

Sheena McColum (aka Obscene Sheen) says it’s great to play with other GLBT athletes. “Roller derby, in general, is a pretty inclusive community, meaning that no matter who you are or what you identify with/as, you are welcome,” she says. “Only rule is don’t be a D-bag. One of the things I love most is the acceptance we as members of the GLBT community get from [straight] teammates and the community. People love sports and women who play sports. Yes, I’m a member of the GLBT community but ultimately I’m an athlete. Our sexuality doesn’t show on the track/court/field…our skills, passion, and love for the game shows.”

McColum says that, in a nutshell, roller derby has changed her life. “It sounds cliché but I speak for many that are involved,” she says. “Our roller derby culture is truly one of a kind; we speak our own language (not really but really), we are one big dysfunctional happy family. My experience as a roller girl has been more fulfilling than I ever thought it would be. Having an outlet as an adult has helped me balance out my life. The competitor in me can’t imagine life without derby.”

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