I couldn't actually find roller derby in Malta, either; but it was easy to take creative licence and transport it there, because no ice is required. Malta may not have ice rinks, but there are sports arenas, so roller derby could be done.
Great! But I still didn't know much about the sport. So, I went online and started reading and watching and - it's so cool! I love this beautiful and creative highlight montage of the Rose City Rollers.
The montage captures the excitement of the game, but I needed to know the rules. I watched hours of bouts online and especially, listened to the play-by-play call from expert roller derby announcers. I'd need to know the cadence of the language for my story, so we can all see in our mind's eye what the crowd saw.
Not only does it explain roller derby in very simple terms - it's a great read. And if you download it as an ebook, you'll get a fantastic visual experience. It was a revelation to me what a graphic novel could be like in ebook format on a tablet.
Roller derby captured me. Unfortunately, during all the time I was writing Possession, I wasn't able to attend a bout. After leaving Malta I tried in every country where I worked and stayed: Spain, South Africa, Georgia republic, Rwanda, Serbia, Ghana, Spain again, Curaçao, Argentia, South Africa again - and no roller derby! I'd ask around and people would shake their heads and say, I've never heard of anything like that. What did you say it's called?
But one day, one day soon or far, I'll go see a bout. Many, many of them!