There’ll be adrenalin rushing, bodies jamming, and quad roller skates flying when the Lake City Derby Girls host a bout this Saturday at the Cariboo Memorial Complex.
In arena 1, the Williams Lake team will play against the Misfits of Mayhem from Silvan Lake, Alta.
Spectators can expect “edge-of-the-seat type of thrills and spills,” team member Toni Healy (who goes by the track name of Tuesday) says.
Healy joined the team two years ago and says she likes the camaraderie, and the game’s ability to work out frustrations.
“It’s not like your ‘70s derby where the moves were kind of choreographed. You still had to be a good athlete in the ‘70s, but today the hits are real. They’re not choreographed.”
Healy has always liked the rough-and-tumble type of sports. She skydives, rides horses fast, rides a motorbike and loves to drive a car.
The adrenalin of the sport was the draw, she recalls.
“I saw a little poster two years ago in Boitanio Mall and thought, ‘roller derby, wow, that looks like a blast,’ so I phoned the phone number, got information and three days later I started. It was awesome.”
Describing herself as the oldest player on the team, Healy says the players range from age 23 to 47 and come in all shapes and sizes.
“We’ve got little, tiny girls that are five foot and about two pounds soaking wet to the largest at 180 pounds. Some girls are even six-foot-two,” she says.
And the track names are fun and include Mara-Nator, Crack-Her-Box, Bombshell Gizmo, Mel-A-Licious, Foxy McMuff, Trauma Queen, Kelly Kapow and RedRum to name a few.
In order to be on the team, women have to be at least 18.
Protective gear in roller derby is a must, including the option of padded shorts that protect the tail bone.
Watching films on old derby games always leaves Healy shaking her head in disbelief because the players are not wearing any protective gear.
“Oh my goodness, that’s crazy,” she says of the concept of playing without the gear.
“Those padded shorts come in handy if you take a spill and land hard,” Healy explains.
Players from Kamloops and Prince George will be on loan for the game, because the local team’s numbers are down this season. It will be the first time the locals have played the Misfits of Mayhem. Healy says a bout runs about two hours and consist of a series of two-minute-jams.
Groups of five players form a pack. One’s the jammer — the one who makes the points — and the other four are called blockers.
There’s a head blocker, called the pivot.
Fourteen or 15 girls switch up to participate in each jam. There are two packs on at once.
The jammer goes through the pack of the two teams once, and when they come around the second time, that’s when they make the points.
“Each opposing player they pass gains them a point. The lead jammer can either stop the game now or keep going to make the points,” Healy explains.
Full of praise for lead coach Manny Haurez and assistant coach Mr. K, Healy describes them as “awesome.” Both take the team through tough drills — 25 laps in five minutes, which ensures the players are in good shape. “We practice hip checks. You’re not allowed to use your elbows in this game because if you do you’ll get penalties and too many penalties you’ll be kicked out of the bout.”
The players jump, weave in and out, it’s wonderful, Healy says.
“If a girl falls in front of you, sometimes you’ve gotta jump to get out of the way so you’re not falling on top of her.”
Saturday evening’s bout will consist of a half-time show featuring local belly dancers and tribal dancers and a game, yet to be determined.
In order to play roller derby players have to become patched, which means enduring a two-hour physical skills exam.
Players have to demonstrate that they have specific skills needed to play the sport.
There’s also a written exam on the rules of the game.
November each year the lakecity team begins practicing twice a week at Nesika and Marie Sharpe elementary schools.
Most of the team members would like to practice more, but there isn’t really a space in the city where they can do that.
Once the ice comes off the arenas at the complex, the team starts practicing there, where there are painted lines on the arenas for the team.
Last time the team hosted a bout upwards of 600 people attended the game and Healy is hoping there’ll be a large crowd again.
After all, since the last time, people have been asking when the next bout is going to happen.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Whistle blows at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $12 in advance at Cariboo GM, the Overlander Pub or the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, or $14 at the door. Kids 12 and under may attend for free. Ticket stubs should be kept, because they will be needed to attend the after party at the Overlander Pub, Healy adds.