In 2015, Philly Roller Girls made the important decision to become more gender-inclusive, starting with some very public-facing shifts with the way we’ve trained our young athletes. By changing our name to ‘Philly Roller Derby,’ the league heralded some small but fairly significant moves away from the “women-only” moniker, in order to begin to include boys in its growing two year-old Juniors program.
While many Juniors teams and leagues across the country are co-ed, Philly’s program had started out as a girls-based initiative geared towards building confidence and camaraderie in blossoming female athletes. But was segregation the best way to help strong, young athletes evolve? Philly Roller Derby felt there was a better way, a way in which young girls were encouraged to learn and compete with boys on a level playing field—the flat track!
This winter, the league proudly announced the inclusion of boys, ages 6-18, into its successful Juniors program. The results have been outstanding, with more than 50 skaters signing up for the 2015 program—seven of whom are young boys eager to learn the basics of flat track derby. “It’s been hard, but I also really like learning something new,” says 7 year-old “Catman,” a brand new skater with the Juniors program. “This year, I learned that it’s good to always try, and that boys and girls can get along and skate together!”
By demonstrating more gender-equality in sports, Philly Roller Derby hopes that the communication and team-work skills we teach will translate beyond the track. As a proud member of the WFTDA, PRD is dedicated to showcasing our hard-working athletes of all ages. We’re thrilled by the success of the 2015 program so far, and welcome boys and girls of all skating abilities to see what our Juniors program is all about!