The Dam City Rollers are calling any and all women interested in gearing up and taking roller derby for a spin.
With the season fast approaching, the Castlegar travel team – comprised of women from all over the region – is looking for new recruits.
No experience is necessary and loaner gear is supplied, so there’s really no excuse not to try this incredible sport, according to Carly Cotton, a 29-year-old skater who picked up the sport last year.
The team is hosting meet-and-greets starting next week at local pubs, offering an opportunity for anyone who’s ever been curious about the fast-paced contact sport to come out, get to know the skaters and learn about the game in a relaxed and familiar environment.
“I get it; I almost convinced myself to not go to my first fresh meat practice,” recalls Cotton, known on the track as Snarly Simon. “I had no knowledge of the sport, the equipment or the gym we were in, and I didn’t know anyone there. Signing the waiver, putting on skates and putting my knee pads on the wrong knees – what a blur!”
Having never been on quad skates before, Cotton said she felt a little like “Bambi on ice,” but after the very first practice she was hooked.
The teammates facilitating the training were patient with newcomers and provided helpful tips and game sense to those with varied skills.
“The next thing I knew I was anxiously waiting for the skills test so I could get on the track with the rest of my team,” Cotton remembers.
Eager to get back to sport when she returned to the Kootenays, Cotton was also looking for a team atmosphere that would introduce her to a community of supportive women. Last fall she happened upon a Facebook post advertising a “fresh meat intake” and, though she knew little about the sport other than what the movie Whip It had depicted (or misinterpreted), she decided to check it out.
“When it came time to go to the gym and actually do it, I was almost too nervous to show up and put myself out there – but I am so glad that I did!”
At the end of her premiere season the fresh skater took home the award given to an up-and-comer – the ‘Most Likely to Knock You Down Next Season’ honour, aptly doled out to the faster-than-fast skater who has an eye for precision.
While the former snowboard cross athlete admits she’s drawn to the physical, fast, and strategic parts of the game, it’s the team aspect that really keeps her going.
“The roller derby community extends beyond just skaters on a track, and the Dam City Rollers is very much a family,” she asserts. “They’re supportive on and off the track, and always ready to laugh or cry with you, or to have an amazing after-game party.”
The inclusive sport really does thrive on a team dynamic, welcoming athletes of all shapes, sizes and skill levels. Roller derby attracts women of all ages, too, though you must at least 19 years old to play.
Women interested in finding out more should attend one of the many drop-in info sessions, either in Castlegar at the Lion’s Head Pub at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, Sept. 13 and Sept. 20 or in Trail at the Arlington Bar & Grill at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 and Sept. 20.
For more information or to stay connected, check out The Dam City Rollers on Facebook.
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What is roller derby?
Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five, roller skating in the same direction around a track. Gameplay consists of a series of short matchups (jams) in which both teams designate a scoring player (the jammer), who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the opposing jammer—in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously.