Deadly Diva for a day

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CONFESSION: I am not a sporty person.

Unlike other members of The Extra team, I don’t own a pair of trainers and I only maintain a degree of health by going for a regular swim and laying off the chocolate (for the most part).

Why, then, did I find myself in a sports shop, buying a mouth guard – oh, the horror – last week?

You could say that it was all in the name of a good story – and maybe the odd picture of me falling over too.

When the girls from the Deadly Divas roller derby team got in touch to ask one of our intrepid reporters along to practice, I found myself agreeing...then panicking.

The all-female team meets at the Maccabi youth and sports centre in Giffnock every second Saturday, and so I strapped on some borrowed skates, bit down on my mouth guard and rolled up to the plate, ever-so-slightly concerned about the bruises I’d have the next day.

I needn’t have worried: three hours later and I was playing games on four (or should that be eight?) wheels, with only a few minor falls under my belt and more than a few new skills acquired too.

The Deadly Divas are the latest roller derby team on an ever-increasing block, as the sport gains momentum up and down the country.

Distancing itself from the fixed sports entertainment shows of the 70s, this new wave is a full-on, contact game played between two teams, each skating around a track in the same direction and defending their point-scoring “jammer”.

With abilities ranging from six years on the court to absolute beginner (thankfully, a couple of first-timers joined me as we all clung to the wall for dear life), the girls will teach you all you need to know about skating, and the game itself.

As for me, I conquered my fear head-on (if you’ll pardon the pun), because the first thing I learned how to do was fall.

After a few purposeful drops, the fear of taking a tumble fell away and I began to work on starting, stopping, weaving in and out and speed techniques.

While it’s safe to say that I won’t be giving the divas a run for their money any time soon, I’m proud to say that there were no photo opportunities of me flat on my face.

I may not have tackled a real game – a bout, as it’s known in derby – but I hung up my skates for the day with a sense of accomplishment.

And who knows: with the team always on the lookout for new recruits, it’s possible that I’ll pick up that dreaded mouth guard again.

Meanwhile, anyone else who fancies a spin can find out more by contacting founding member Aj Heavey at or the group’s Facebook page.