By EMILY CLANCE
Piedmont offers a wide range of sports to its students. The school has men’s and
women’s lacrosse, basketball, tennis, soccer, golf and cross country, as well as men’s baseball,
women’s softball and women’s volleyball. They’re fun to participate in and help keep players
active and healthy.
Staying active is important to a healthy lifestyle, but it’s more difficult and not nearly as
fun without others to do it with you and without some friendly competition. However, the sports
in Piedmont’s athletic department don’t appeal to everyone.
Some people are looking for a sport that stands out from the standard fare offered by
colleges, while some just aren’t good at the sports Piedmont has to offer. Still others are
ineligible for Piedmont’s teams due to age or to residential status. Is there a sport that any of
these people could participate in?
The answer is a resounding “yes!”
Athens sits just an hour south of Piedmont’s Demorest campus, and the city is home to a
team that stands out among its already-thriving athletics. That team is the Classic City
Rollergirls (CCRG), Athens’ one and only roller derby team.
CCRG got its start in 2006, during the sport’s revival in the early 2000s. While roller
derby first began and gained media attention in the 1940s, it dwindled in the 60s and 70s and
didn’t make a major comeback until the mid-2000s revival. It was a mixed-gender sport at its
start, but its return changed it into an all-female sport, with a few leagues having men’s teams in
addition to their main women’s team.
Each skater has a nickname she skates under, and her teammates and fans often refer
to her by her derby name, as well as media outlets. Names are frequently puns or pop culture or
historical references, such as CCRG’s Trè Booshay, Slam Chop and Human Missile Crisis.
Roller derby games are called bouts, which consist of two 30-minute periods. Each
period has an unlimited number of two-minute ‘jams,’ in which teams can score points. In each
jam, teams put out five skaters each: a jammer, a pivot and three blockers. These make up the
The jammer, the skater with a star on her helmet, is the one that can score points for her
team. To do so, she must fight her way through the pack and pass all skaters on the opposing
team to become the lead jammer. After she becomes the lead, she scores points for each
opponent she passes. She can call off the jam at any moment by placing her hands on her hips;
jammers often end the jam early to prevent the other team from scoring points.
The pivot is the skater with a stripe on her helmet. She is responsible for calling plays
and acts as the last line of defense between her jammer and the other team’s jammer.
Occasionally, the pivot can accept a ‘star pass’ from her jammer and take over that position.
The rest of the pack consists of blockers, who have no specific emblem on their helmets
and are responsible for stopping their opponents’ jammer while assisting their own through the
At the first whistle, the pack begins making its way around the track. When the back of
the pack reaches the starting point of the front of the pack, the jammers can begin fighting
through the pack to become lead jammer.
Roller derby bouts are typically high-scoring games, with jammers scoring an average of
four points per jam, five if she passes the opposing team’s jammer for a Grand Slam and more if
the other jammer has been penalized and sent to the penalty box. This results in a Power Jam,
in which the team with no jammer must do their best to block their opponents and prevent their
jammer from scoring.
For first-time attendees of a bout, it may appear an intimidating sport to learn with all its
rules and terminology, and Slam Chop said it takes a couple times to get used to.
“There’s lots of rules, there’s a lot of things that can happen,” she said. “And then there
are even more rules that nobody knows about, so many penalties you can get.”
She added that it often takes attending two or three bouts before attendees understand
what’s going on in a bout.
As the sport has grown in recent years, teams have popped up all over the country and
even internationally. In Georgia alone, there are fourteen women’s teams, one men’s team and
three junior teams for girls ages 10 to 17. CCRG is closest to Piedmont, with their home bouts
taking place at the Classic Center in Athens. Other nearby teams include the Marietta Derby
Darlins, who skate at the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, and the Atlanta Rollergirls, who
skate at the Yaarab Shrine Center in Atlanta.
CCRG has a distinct attitude among Georgia’s roller derby teams, partly due to the
nature of its hometown. Athens is a college town, and as such several of the skaters are
students who join the team while they’re in school and leave when they graduate. During the
team’s January and October boot camps, more college students try out for the team, while
during the July boot camp, more locals come out.
The team is a non-profit organization and partners with a different group for each bout.
In the past, they have partnered with Athens AIDS Walk, the Athens Area Humane Society,
Taste of Athens and other local charities. A percentage of ticket sales from each bout go to the
selected charity. Most recently, the team partnered with the Athens Community Council on
For women wanting to get involved and participate in roller derby, Slam Chop says to
stick with it even if it seems hard.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I couldn’t skate at all when I started. I could barely even
stand up on skates, and in about three months they had me hitting. Another month after that,
and you can scrimmage. It wasn’t that long between start and scrimmage.”
“It’s different for everyone,” she added. “Some people it takes longer, but stick with it.
You can only get better.” CCRG’s season runs from the beginning of the year to late summer or early fall. The
2014 season began in January and ended in late August, and the team’s next season is set to
begin in January 2015.
The team is holding a three-day recruitment boot camp on Sept. 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 9
p.m., Oct. 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The boot camp
itself is free, but a $10 refundable deposit lets skaters rent loaner gear that includes knee and
elbow pads, wrist guards and a helmet. Speed skates are available to rent for $3 per session,
and mouth guards, which are required, are available for purchase at boot camp for $2. The boot
camp will take place at CCRG’s practice rink, Fun Galaxy, located at 3030 Cherokee Road in
“We accept skaters of all skill levels,” said Lolli Mae-hamm. “If you haven’t been on
skates in years, that’s fine with us. We’ll teach you everything you need to know.”
For more information on roller derby, visit the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
website at www.wftda.org. For more information on CCRG, visit their website at