First published: 03 January 2022
Drawing on interviews with skaters on teams from all over the country in the women’s flat track roller Derby association (wftda), this article argues that roller Derby can be viewed as a secular alternative to religion for its participants. Following Stolz et al.’s ((Un)Believing in Modern Society: Religion, Spirituality, and Religious-Secular Competition, Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2016) argument that social and cultural change has led to a change in the religious ‘competition’ regime which has resulted in changes to the nature of both intra-religious competition and religious–secular competition so that religious groups now find themselves competing with secular leisure activities. This article finds support for this theory: that roller Derby functions as a secular competitor to religion in the lives of these skaters in three key ways: (1) roller Derby participants make a significant investment of time, energy, money, and physical well-being into their sport; (2) roller Derby does, in fact, satisfy most if not all of the individual needs traditionally satisfied by religion as identified by Stolz et al(2016). ((Un)Believing in Modern Society: Religion, Spirituality, and Religious-Secular Competition, Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2016); and, (3) participation in roller Derby does conflict with individuals’ formal religious involvement.