Niagara Roller Girls are passionate, fun and fierce. They are women, they are empowered and they are here to stay.
I was just saying to Dan a few months ago that this region really could use a roller derby and much to my happy surprise one has been quietly in development since January 2012. Why did I want a roller derby here? Well I can’t pinpoint one specific reason but I can say that the Niagara Region has quite a few strong, dedicated women and this sport is a perfect fit. I never really thought about joining but to be honest, after sitting and watching these women push forward with such intense focus while having a great time, it was hard to not want to be a part of it. There may be a future where I am a Niagara Roller Girl.
Niagara Roller Girls is a non-profit flat track roller derby league and there are currently four teams in the Niagara Region. They are the Seaway Sirens, Dalhousie Destroyers, Maids of the Fist, and Vineyard Vixens.
EmbraceNiagara.com was there to take in their opening night and first time public bout. I had no idea regarding the actual game mechanics and rules until we attended. They did a great job of walking us through a slow version of the game and the program details helped. I had only ever experienced Hollywood’s theatrical version of what a roller derby should be and didn’t really know what to expect. Hollywood just didn’t prepare me…
I was a goalie on a roller hockey team for awhile. It was a tough position being a female goalie in a nearly all-male league but I’m scrappy so it worked out fine. Coming from this kind of background, I expected to see more division in the teams and less cooperation. Instead what I saw was friendship wearing different uniforms, girls from opposing teams helping each other off the ground and losing teams genuinely cheering on the winners. We can all take a lesson from the Niagara Roller Girls.
This is silly but my favorite part is the naming and costume decisions that went into each Roller Girl. Names like Lock N Roll, Carla Dioxide, and especially Titan Uranus got several chuckles from the people around me. Since that night it’s been a fun distraction wondering what my roller derby name would be.
We were able to sit in the Suicide Section which I would highly recommend. You are ringside and right next to all of the action. You better be reasonably light on your feet or you might end up with a roller girl in your lap. Some might not find that a bad thing, though.
There is a reason roller derby is in the running for the 2020 Olympics. This is a hard sport, and YES it’s a sport. Poker, however, is not a sport (if you don’t believe me ask the Olympic Committee). The women worked their collective butts off and made it look fun at the same time. Many were wearing some vicious bruises that clearly came from practice and many others went home with new ones that night. A few people went down and medical staff had to rush out but serious injuries were avoided.
It was a bit surreal to be sitting near one of the Niagara Roller Girls kids, though. They were cheering on their mommy while she skated around the pack. Day after day, mothers raise their kids and watch them grow. These women carry them in their body the first 9 months. They spend years cultivating a relationship built on teaching them and becoming proud of their accomplishments. It was quite the role reversal. This time kids were watching their mothers play and were proud of her accomplishments. They get to watch her grow and learn a sport while being a part of it themselves. It really was a warm and fuzzy thing to see.
So what lies ahead of the track for the Niagara Roller Girls? Lots actually. They have three games dates left on this season. You can take in a bout at the Bill Burgoyne Arena (St. Catharines) on July 14th, July 28th and August 18th. They are also advertising that October 2012 will kick off their next fresh meat training. Hurry and email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list.
An event you also don’t want to miss is their one-night-only screening of Derby Baby on Monday, July 16th. This screening is put on by the Niagara Roller Girls in partnership with Henry of Pelham, Sibling Rivalry, and the NAC. There will be live music, wine, and roller girls. How could it get better?
Make sure you get out and see a game. Support our local roller derby and ensure they stay for a long time. When I can muster up the bravery to strap on my skates and add myself to their list, I’ll let you know.
To learn more details about Niagara Roller Girls, please visit their website here.