Romp and Roll’s old hardwood floors have hosted plenty of birthday parties and school field trips throughout the years.
Since the fall of in-line and roller-skating, Romp and Roll has a new tenant and let’s just say they’re way tougher than their last.
Every Monday and Thursday The Steel City Roller Derby team dominates the rink, practicing for their next epic face off.
In 2006, SCRD became Pittsburgh’s first and only all-female roller derby team. Since then SCRD has been gathering hundreds of women from across the region to compete in local, national and international competitions through the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).
Pittsburgh’s only roller derby league is made up of 5 teams, The Steel Hurtin’ (varsity), the Steel Beamers (junior varsity) and the three home teams, the Allegheny Avengers, Mon Monsters and the Penn Bruisers. Varsity and JV travel the country playing teams from as close as Buffalo to as far as Milwaukee, leaving their mark in each city they visit.
Becoming a member of SCRD takes determination and, of course, the right equipment. All falls taken by these derby girls are real, so kneepads, wrist guards, elbow pads, a helmet and a mouth guard are required. Every year the league pumps out a new Freshmeat class after hours upon hours of practice, conditioning, mentoring getting tough. Even though try-outs may seem intimidating to an outsider, the falls, sweat, and friendships that skaters make along the way seem to make up for it.
With the all rule implementation and decisions made by the players and officials, this league is truly for its players, by its players. When you show up to one of their matches, skaters and officials are the ones checking you in at the doors, purchasing equipment and setting up all seating and track equipment. As a non-profit all bouts, dues and fundraising go directly back into the league, making SCRD a truly homegrown organization.
As the Steel City Roller Derby remains in the top 10% of the WFTDA, this passion project will not be going anywhere but the rink anytime soon.
Photo by Steve Dalton