Errin Strain leaps over Jennifer Baron during the Wheat City Roller Derby League’s open house at the Westridge Community Center earlier this year.
When I stumbled on roller derby during the summer of 2011, I realized that it was the activity I was waiting for. I quickly became addicted.
As a new member, I was called "fresh meat" and was a little bit intimidated by the women wheeling around the track.
When I bought my first pair of skates and set of gear, the previous owner said, "Promise me one thing: Use this gear without fear."
And I’ve been doing just that ever since. I’ve had my share of "rink rash", that’s for sure.
I am a member of the Wheat City Roller Derby League based out of Brandon. The WCRDL was formed in May 2010, and while membership has fluctuated as people have come and gone for various reasons, there has been a strong core of women holding the league together.
We have recently acquired more fresh meat through our open houses and word of mouth.
An 18 years and older league, ours is part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, an organization that has been developed to create standardized rules for flat track derby and allow for league development and communication among leagues worldwide.
Roller derby is a great athletic sport and there are many misconceptions about it based on the early ‘wrestling type’ version of the game.
The origin and evolution of derby is very interesting and entertaining. Today, roller derby is still interesting and entertaining; but is now recognized as a valid team sport.
It is extremely athletic and technical, and follows safety guidelines as do other competitive team sports. We keep fit by promoting off-track training along with our two-hour practices twice a week.
For me, the real draw to derby includes the athleticism, of course — but I appreciate and enjoy the atmosphere of truly being accepted for who I am.
The women I practise with are strong women who are supportive and encouraging. There is something about being allowed to be aggressive and feminine at the same time.
I find it funny how once someone gets derby in their blood, almost everything else revolves around or relates to derby.
Picking a derby name and number are exciting tasks as well. Once benchmarking (completion of minimum skills) has been achieved, skaters can register their chosen derby name on the derby name registry. The names are all very interesting and have personal meaning to the participant.
The sport needs support in other ways, more than just skaters/players are required. We need to have highly qualified referees, scorekeepers, announcers, etc. in order make sure bout events run smoothly and safely.
The essence of the sport is as follows:
Games are called BOUTS which are played between two teams; the team which has the most points at the end of a game wins. Bouts consist of two 30 minute periods. Periods consists of multiple JAMS. Each jam is a maximum of two minutes long.
There are five skaters per team on the track during each jam. Player positions include one JAMMER (star helmet cover), and four BLOCKERS; of the blockers, one is designated as the PIVOT (striped helmet cover).
Points are attained for a team when their respective Jammer legally passes players of the opposing team during regular counter-clockwise motion around the track.
A LEAD JAMMER is designated upon the first pass through the PACK (collection of skaters on the track); the lead jammer can call off the jam prior to the two minute jam limit, usually for strategic scoring reasons.
Roller derby is a contact sport. There are legal and illegal procedures in regards to hitting and gameplay. Referees will call penalties and players have consequences for misconduct.
In order for ‘fresh meat’ to be qualified to play on the track during a bout, they must complete a set of basic skills requirements to ensure the safety of everyone on the track. Jennifer Baron a.k.a. "Alecto #106" is with team Gang Green of the Wheat City Roller Derby League. »
WHEAT CITY ROLLER DERBY LEAGUE FACTS:
•The WCRDL has been involved in a number of local activities; we are open to supporting
local sporting and general service promotion as well. Our league helped KIDSPORT during
a fashion show fundraiser in a "For the Love of Chocolate" event in Brandon on Feb. 24.
• We hold our own open houses two to three times per year. This year, so far, we’ve held
one in Brandon and one in Shilo. Our fall open house will take place during early fall 2012.
During future open houses, we will be working with Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to
create awareness for the importance of donating blood. The league will campaign for CBS
and CBS will be attending the open house to do blood typing and to make appointments for
• Our own fundraising efforts and search for sponsorship are ongoing. Finding and securing
practice venues is sometimes a challenge. We currently practice two times per week, each
session lasting two hours in length. We thank those who have supported our derby league in
• If you or your organization wish to support WCRDL in the future, see the contact
information at the end of this article.
• On May 15 , feel free to drop by Shilo, MB L-25 for the Healthy Brandon In Motion
highlighted activity for that day.
We are coming up to our second anniversary and on May 26, WCRDL’s GANG GREEN
will be hosting Moose Jaw in our first home opener. What a great feeling to be hosting
another team in our area!
The bout will be taking place in our regular practice location — Building L-25 at CFB
Shilo. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., bout starts at 7. A social event will follow at 9 p.m. in the Jr.
Ranks building in Shilo across from the bout venue. Hope to see you there!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR LEAGUE:
Join our Facebook fanpage: Wheat City Roller Derby League
— Sheena Ford: email@example.com
— Errin Lintott: firstname.lastname@example.org
— Jennifer Baron: email@example.com; 204 570 0403
Additional information about roller derby can be found at the following sites:
4) wcrdl.ca (currently under construction)
5) YouTube.com — search for roller derby flat track; or check out "Derby girls part 15"
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 10, 2012