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The Return Of Roller Derby

An old sport is making a big comeback these days, but it's not just for professional athletes anymore.

As CBS News correspondent Michelle Gielan reports, Roller Derby has been a popular sport for spectators, especially in its heyday a few decades ago, but it's gaining momentum again, and now fans of the sport are strapping on wheels themselves.

In the 1970's, when disco was king and polyester was the fabric of choice, Roller Derby was the hottest thing on wheels -- so popular, Hollywood even made movies about it.

But like disco, Roller Derby soon went the way of eight-track tape.

But now it's back -- and you may be surprised to find out who's jamming their way across the Roller Rink.

"I'm a business analyst for a software company."

"I'm the director of operations for a foundation in Manhattan."

"I teach eigth grade English and history."

"I'm a registered sales assistant at a major brokerage house."

These women go by names like Lady Vengance, I Don't Care Bear, and Bell 'N' Some Bashin'.

Roller Derby is rolling into cities across the country, with women from all walks of life taking up the sport -- not professionally, but as a fun way to work off some stress.

"Girls of all sizes can play Roller Derby," says Sarah Deem, captain of the Garden State Roller Girls. "Girls of any size can play. They can play whatever position they train for. It's just a matter of putting your mind to it."

The object of the game? To get as many points by passing as many of the other team's players as possible, and to block them from passing you -- any way you can.

"It's a very physical sport," says Tiffany Salisbury of the Garden State Roller Girls, "from day-to-day frustrations, just normal life activities and things that bother you. And then you come onto the rink and not only are you -- you're getting your endorphins pumping, but you get to hit people. And sometimes, that feels good!."

The Garden State Roller Girls League is comprised of women of all ages -- one of the league's hardest hitters is a 47-year-old mother of one and owner of an animation company, Tammy Waters.

"There are a lot of girls who skate who were never athletes," Waters says, "and they kind of find their own inner-athlete. They discover that side of themselves they never knew they had -- the will to hit and be hit."

Part of the allure of the sport is a bit of escapist fantasy, but make no mistake, this is no leisurely skate around the roller rink.

Gielan learned firsthand that it's a serious sport, played by serious athletes, who often risk serious injuries.

"Have you ever had a bad spill?" Gielan asked one participant.

"Yes. I actually - a few bouts ago, I got a concussion. It wasn't fun. It wasn't so serious, but it took me out of commission and kind of affected me at my job. So it wasn't pleasant."

Some bouts bring in hundreds of spectators who are just as passionate as the players.

But more than the thrill of the win, there's one thing that keeps these Derby girls rolling.

"I like the camaraderie of it," says Jeannine Corey of the Roller Girls. "It's probably one of my favorite things about it, it's, you know, 30-some-odd women who are into the same things I am and knowing that they physically have your back and stuff, like emotionally and all of that. I think it carries through for all of us."

There are amateur Roller Derby leagues in every state, with nearly 300 teams throughout the country, so if you're interested in becoming a Derby girl, chances are there's a league near you that you can look into joining, Gielan says.

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