In 2016, my wife joined the Darwin Roller Girls. Being a spectator the sport looked fun and intriguing, so I decided to lace up a pair of skates and join the team too.
Alongside our two eldest sons, we became known as Team YorkForce. The family that played together.
From our humble beginnings at the Gentlemen Rollers of Darwin, where it was my two sons, 3 other blokes and I, we worked hard to push ourselves to be the best we could be. It was hard in a remote city such as Darwin. Through our hard work and dedication, we were able to join in large tournaments such as the United Roller Derby Playoffs and Australian Men’s Nationals.
In 2017 my wife and sister in law were selected to play Roller Derby for the first World Roller Games in Nanjing. Watching them play World Skate roller derby was addictive. My sons and I, sitting in the grandstands, talked about how we would be skating at the next one.
In 2018 a move to Queensland opened up the world of Roller Derby to us. As well as coaching a junior league and setting up a new mixed gender roller derby league in North Brisbane, we also had the opportunity to play alongside some of Australia’s greatest players at many tournaments around Queensland. When the 2019 World Roller Games was announced, we set a goal. We would be on the first Skate Australia Men’s Roller Derby Team.
It has been a massive journey since our first roll around the skate rink in Katherine. To now be standing side by side with my two sons, about to embark on an opportunity of a lifetime. There are very few full contact sports where a father and son can compete side by side at an International level. That is the beauty of Roller Derby.
Roller Derby is the fastest growing sport in the world. Unfortunately, it’s not part of the Australian Olympic program (yet), and all athletes are completely self funded. What I, we, have achieved has been done without any funding or support from any national sporting body, government agency, or private company. What makes it a bigger challenge is that the cost is not only for one person, but a whole family of elite roller derby players.
I am hoping that by sharing my story with you, you will find our commitment and passion for a sport as a family inspiring and you will want to be a part of this journey with us. Please help us to achieve this dream of sending Australia’s first roller derby father/sons combo to Barcelona to compete at the World Roller Games in July 2019.
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