IT grew to prominence as a way for women to get fit, play competitive sports and unleash their aggression - but now Leeds men can follow in their female counterparts skate tracks and learn to play roller derby, with the city’s men’s league opening up to new members.
Aire Force One began skating competitively in September 2014, and after taking part in the Men’s British Roller Derby Championships for the first time last year, are actively looking for new blood.
The team, who practise at the Futsal Arena on Sundays, will soon host their first ever home game, and are holding an open day for new recruits next Sunday, April 3.
The team’s recruitment officer, Ian Waring, said: “There’s no need for any experience, all we ask is that you are over 18 and can skate five laps.
“If you’re not that confident, we will teach you everything you need to know and you can get extra support at the regular Wednesday social skate sessions at Futsal.
“People are often surprised at the vast range of people in the team, we’re aged from 25 to 45, and from a range of backgrounds and professions.”
Leeds already has two women’s roller derby leagues - Leeds Roller Dolls, who were founded in 2007, and Hot Wheel, who followed in 2010. The sport is traditionally for women, but men’s roller derby is on the rise and now there are many teams across the UK, including The Inhuman League in Sheffield and The Skateful Dead in Halifax.
Aire Force One traces its roots to October 2013, but it wasn’t until the following autumn that they league grew enough to take the decision to join the first men’s championships tournament in 2014.
The decision paid off, and the team came third in their tier last year.
Aire Force One’s first home game will be held at Futsal Arena on May 14, where they will take on the Brothers Grimm from Grimsby. A second men’s game will also take place, before Leeds Roller Dolls’ Rebel Roses take on London Rollergirls’ Brawl Saints.
Ian added: “There’s a real camaraderie in roller derby - it’s very supportive. It’s great to be playing on the same day as Leeds Roller Dolls.
“We tend to train around the same times and we’re very helpful of each other - it’s like one big family.”
To register for the recruitment day, and for more information, visit the team’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/AireForceOne or website www.aireforceone.co.uk