New recruits sought by Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
by Peggy Miles
Wanted: Fresh meat. Also known as new recruits for PEI’s roller derby league. Yes, over the last couple of years, Red Rock ‘N Roller Derby has captured the attention of local enthusiasts as the league finds its bearings.
Quick derby lesson as quoted from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association: “Imagine a hockey game, but replace the ice with a roller rink. Swap out the baggy jerseys for fishnet hose and tank tops, and abandon ordinary names in favor of pseudonyms like Tanya Hyde and Demi Gore. What you have is a reasonable facsimile of women’s roller derby.”
The PEI league is recruiting gals to get involved on the local level. Correct, only women can compete, however there are opportunities for both genders to act as coaches, referees, officials and volunteers. The league’s bouting season takes place from May to September, though participants practice year round.
RRRD has two upcoming Learn to Skate programs: one on January 14th in Summerside and the following day in Charlottetown. These are twelve week programs that will teach participants the basic skills of skating and things like stopping, avoiding injury and strategy.
Who is roller derby for? “Women from all walks of life,” reveals Maureen Gay, Training Director for the league. Maureen (or Mosie O’Pummel as she’s known on the track) says there is a wide range of ages—from the minimum requirement of 19, all the way up to women in their mid forties. From teachers to farmers, lawyers to homemakers, they all come together in the pursuit of competitive action.
Mosie stresses that gals are drawn to the game because of its empowering nature, inclusiveness and the social opportunities it presents. Plus “It’s not just fish nets, tattoos and funky hair styles—it’s athletic.”
Some people retain memories of 1960’s and 70’s roller derby, where outcomes were predetermined and things were more spectacle than sport.
A new day has dawned in modern roller derby and it is respected as a legitimate and competitive sport. It’s still, however, not a pastime for the timid—competitors boast about nasty bumps and bruised bottoms. To prevent injury, players must wear helmets, mouth guards and various pads.
The Red Rock N’ Rollers feel proud of their inaugural bouting season this past summer, which caught members of more established Maritime teams by surprise. Even though derby is new to Island spectators, it hasn’t stopped them from showing their support in the stands.
Mosie indicates that the players involved are ‘women of strong character’ who are involved because it “allows for an alter ego to develop and a way to express themselves in an alternate way.”
Active now in the Charlottetown and Summerside areas, the league hopes to eventually be able to expand to King’s County.
“I put on my derby shirt and I walk differently…even around the grocery store,” jokes Mosie.
Interested individuals should plan to attend the upcoming Learn to Skate Programs and can check out redrocknrollerderby.com for more details.