Derby rolls into 10th season with some broad changes

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Philly Roller Girls are no more. Welcome Philly Roller Derby. The organizational transformation begins this year with the announcement of the name switch to accommodate changes that are already occurring in the local league and in many other cities.

Roller derby is becoming completely gender-inclusive.

Yep. That’s right, guys. You can lace up and play now also. But I would strongly urge you to go to a match or two first to get a feel for what you might encounter. This ain’t no skating rink. You could probably get hurt watching.

Last week, Philly Roller Derby announced the decision to drop the gender-specific “girls” from the league’s namesake. Many of the skaters are in complete agreement and general manager Joe Salenetri proclaimed, “As our league and the sport of roller derby continue to grow, it has become evident that identifying as ‘roller girls’ may feel exclusionary to some in our community.” This shift comes as Philly Roller Derby celebrates its 10th year.

Regarding further changes and announcements, Salenetri said, “A name change is just one step in creating a welcoming and safe environment for all of our current and future members.”

He added that the recognizable Liberty Bell and skates logo would remain the same.

Information for this year’s schedule, tryouts and practice is not available yet, but will be posted at phillyrollerderby.com.

Rolling up their wings

Philly Roller Derby members are chomping at the bit for their annual vegan wing bowl competition. Want to meet some of the players and maybe even win some money at the same time? The Vegan Wing Bowl has been set for 3 p.m. Jan. 31 at The Abbaye, 637 N. Third St. (As curious as vegan wings sound, I just had to try them last year and they really are pretty good!)

This year a second competition for bragging rights debuts: vegan pie-eating. I don’t know for sure what the primary filling is yet, but it should make for some pretty fun moments. Check photos from these combined events in Get Out and Play next month.

Fins in the water

The Fins are starting 2015 much like they started 2014: with the annual Postal Swim to raise money for the organization and a selected nonprofit. Last year the money was split with the American Cancer Society in memory of recently deceased Fins member Dennis Clegg.

The premise is simple: Each swimmer completes as many laps as he/she can in a set time. Pledges can be made per lap for a specific swimmer, or a flat amount can be donated to the organization.

The fundraiser is from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at Friends Select School, 1651 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. If you would like to pledge to the team or an individual, forms are on the Fins’ website at philadelphiafins.org/postalswim.php. Better yet, join me that Sunday morning and cheer on your favorite Speedo-clad swimmer.

Short stops

• GPFFL competitive team, Revolution is getting ready for the 2015 Florida Sunshine Cup Feb. 12-15. Another great reason to go to Fort Lauderdale this winter.

• Membership dues for the Falcons soccer club are now payable for the 2015 season. Full year is $50, half-year through June is $30. Falcons-soccer.org.

• Complete sports and recreation information is always inside the back page of PGN on the fourth Friday of every month.

Do you have a strong urge to know more about a particular sport or organization? Let me know at [email protected].