The roller derby recruiters are hard at it as they spread the word about their unique sport and try to bring in more skaters to join Dawson Creek’s first-ever roller derby club.
The organization has held several recent open houses and publicity events that have attracted interested women who watched and learned about the sport and others who have taken an initial introductory course and are lacing up their roller skates on a regular basis and working on their skating skills.
“I know how to skate, but I knew nothing about derby. There are some who have never been on skates, so we are all learning the sport together which is why it is a great time to come in,” said Tara Tom who will be using the derby name “Tomahawk” when she “bouts” for the local team.
Tom is typical of the women who have joined the Mile “Zero Mercy” Roller Derby Girls as the team, which just began this spring, recruits members. She was on roller skates when she was a kid, but knew nothing about the sport that is making a comeback after its popularity of the 1970s.
“When they first started talking about it I had to Youtube it and Google it because I had no idea. I knew I would be able to throw my weight around because I am kind of competitive and I like to do that, and I usually get fouled out of basketball and soccer. When I heard about it, I thought right on, but I had to review the rules and Youtube it because I had no idea.”
The rules are relatively straightforward and the game itself is not that difficult to learn, points out Tom. One member of a team is designated the jammer, who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams try to help their own jammer but also hinder the opposing jammer.
However, before anyone plays competitively – or bouts – with clubs in surrounding communities, such as Prince George, Fort St. John and Grande Prairie, she must pass a skills test.
“Some of us haven’t skated before. What we are doing here is learning minimum skills that we have to do before we can even bout. You have to be 100 per cent comfortable on your skates and you have to know how to fall the right way so you don’t get hurt.”
The members of the Mile “Zero Mercy” hope to train twice a week into the fall and winter and then possibly get into their first bout in the spring.
Tom encourages all women (18 and older) who want to try the sport to come out to one of the club’s training sessions. Neither skill and age, nor competitive aspirations matter.
“The more the merrier and if they come out and want to be part of the team but they don’t want to bout, they can still train with us. Those who do want to bout can bout, but we will all be part of the team.”
Anyone interested in being involved in the local roller derby club as a competitor or non-playing participant or supporter can call 719-8190 and speak with Lorna Merrick.