On May 24, the Tri-City Roller Derby house league kicked off its season with a double header featuring all three of its house league teams as well as the Kingston Disloyalists of the Kingston Derby Girls.
The high paced and physical sport has risen over popularity over the past few years with the Tri-City Roller Girls club currently ranked 40th in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), out of a 196 clubs.
For those who are not too familiar with the sport, here are the basics. Two teams of up to 14 face off in an hour long game split into two-halves made up of individual jams. A jam can last anywhere up to two minutes.
Five skaters from each team make up two positions, jammers and blockers. Each team can only have one jammer, whose goal is to beat the other jammer through the pack of blockers to obtain lead jammer status.
Once a lead jammer is declared they can call off the jam at any time, unless they are penalized and battle with the other jammer to score points for their team. To score points, a jammer must pass the blockers after the first lap before the jam is called off. When a jam is over, another one starts 30 seconds later. This continues until the game finishes.
In the first game, the TKO’s took on the Vicious Dishes. After coming out to a commanding 20 point lead after the first jam, the defending league champion TKO’s could not be slowed down as they powered through to a 169-88 victory over the ten player Dishes team. MVP’s were Aggrosaurus from the TKO’s and Lippy Wrongstockings from the Vicious Dishes.
In the second game, the Venus Fly Tramps hosted the Kingston Disloyalists. The Disloyalists kept it close in the first few jams until the Fly Tramps built a lead too large to come back from, leading to a 187-119 win for the Fly Tramps. The MVP’s were Slaughterhouse Streeter from the Fly Tramps and Queen Blitz from the Disloyalists.
Slaughterhouse Streeter from the Fly Tramps explained the team’s training preparation after the game.
“With the Tramps we actually just go with the basics,” she said. “Staying together, communication, just work with the things that you know and keep with a level head.”
“Some of the other teams, they go with more of a strategic approach in doing plays and we just find that if you are good with your basics, that’s what you need to know,” she added.
With both winning teams from Saturday building leads that were maintained and increased until victory, Streeter explained how vital a strong start is to the sport.
“With roller derby it can be a toss up at the beginning,” she said. “Some teams are known as the second halfers… but at the beginning if you have a strong lead there is not really a way to overcome that unless the team that’s advantaged breaks down.”
What does Streeter like best about this up and coming sport?
“How it is so goal orientated,” she said. “There is so much you can do. It’s a very complicated sport to understand and become good at…you don’t reach your plateau, you always have another goal to go to.”
For those who are interested about the sport but reluctant to get involved or watch games because of a lack of knowledge, Streeter explained people shouldn’t worry.
“It is a very inclusive sport,” Streeter said. “If you don’t know how to skate or you don’t know how the rules go, you always have an endless amount of women that are there to teach you and help you no matter what.”
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR DERBY NAME
Roller derby players choose the name they want to play under. These names can be funny (1 UP from the Queen City Roller Girls), scary (A.lice Murder from the Cannibales Dolls) or reference the player’s own interests (Pain Eyre on the Border City Brawlers).
However, if you can’t think of your own derby name here is an easy way to find it – pick the name of your favourite childhood cartoon character and the weapon you would use to fight zombies. For example, CCE EiC H.G. Watson’s derby name would be Helga Chainsaw.
A real child of the nineties, Tegan’s interests are rooted in anime, lame kids movies/shows, and graphic novels. Looking through old photos also confirms her fashion sense included many a neon colour or floral print (read: still does). She aspires to have her own wall to wall, ceiling to floor library; where she can hunker down in a comfy chair by a fire, close off the world, and read a few good books.