Create an Identity

Now that you're a real, honest-to-goodness derby girl, you're going to need a derby name. But before you have it tattooed on your back or printed on your favorite T-shirt, you should make sure the name you want isn't already in use, or highly similar to an existing name.

Each league typically has one person who is responsible for collecting skater names and numbers and submitting them to the International Rollergirls Master Roster, found here.

Before submitting your name and number to your league's name-wrangler, ask whether your league has any policies that would affect your decision. For example, some leagues require skaters to have two-digit numbers. And you'll want to make sure your name and number don't belong to another skater in your league (while that seems so obvious that we shouldn't have to say it, you might be surprised at how many people don't think to do this).

You may also want to check Section 3.7 of the official rules before you settle on a skater number.

Finally, you'll want to check your name against those listed on the master roster. If your name is highly similar to one that's already registered, it will likely be rejected.

The master roster is maintained by a few hardworking volunteers who are generally buried under a mountain of derby names, so the list may not be up-to-date when you check it. Until your league's official name-wrangler confirms that your name is good to go, don't get too attached to it. It's possible that another skater also thought of the same ingenious name you'd like to use, and that her league registered that name 20 minutes before your league registered your name.

How do I think of a derby name?

Thinking of a unique derby name can be challenging, especially with the ever-increasing number of skaters. So you may find the first several names you think of have been snatched up by other skaters.

Derby names can be funny, scary, sexy, based on your profession or hobbies, your favorite actor – there's no right or wrong way to pick a name. However, we suggest that you consider carefully whether to create a derby name that's an homage to any living public figure, because if that person should flip out and kill a bunch of puppies or something, you'll probably be scrambling to change your name (and let's hope you didn't already get that derby name tattoo).
Also worth considering is whether an announcer can say your name without a pronunciation guide. Do you want to spend your entire derby career listening to people butcher your name? And if you choose a really long name, think about whether it will fit on your jersey – or how much it's going to cost you to have it put on a shirt, if you're paying by the letter.

Can I use my real name instead of a derby name?

Recently, some skaters have begun using their real surnames instead of derby names. The jury is still out about whether this is a trend. Some people argue that using your real name helps legitimize the sport of roller derby. And others say that derby names are an important part of roller derby culture. For now, whatever your league is doing is the model you should follow.