GS Roller Derby gaining traction
Heading into its second season, Greater Sudbury Roller Derby (GSRD) is looking to build on its strong debut, focusing on strategy and skill development, while recruiting new skaters to boost its membership.
The fledgling flat-track roller derby league started with 20 skaters last January, and has already doubled its numbers. Its rapid growth means the league has the volume to form two home teams, in addition to a travel team, which will play across Ontario and the United States in 2013.
“Our goal this year is to have two home teams, that will play each other,” said league president Crystal Larose, who skates under the persona of Pinky ‘n’ da Pain. “The girls are all at different levels, so this gives everyone a chance to play.”
Larose wants to focus on skill development, in particular, training more jammers to take on the point-scoring role.
A packed schedule of eight games will give seasoned skaters a chance to hone their skills, while less experienced skaters will bout for the first time.
Veteran skater Rebecca Bose, who skates as Skullery Made, wants to earn her way into one of the jammer positions, a role that requires endurance, agility and impeccable timing. It’s the challenge of using her willpower to get through the pack that appeals to Bose.
“You have to depend on your team to a certain extent, but not as much as you lean on the other people on the track when you’re a blocker,” said Bose, who’s been skating for two and a half years. “If you’re a jammer and you’re coming up to that pack, it’s up to you; it’s a one-man show and you have to get through there.”
For other members, this season’s goals are more immediate. Lori Ouimette, known on the track as Psychopathy Red, wants to improve her fitness to earn a spot on one of the home teams, which will face off against each other May 25 in Copper Cliff and again Aug. 3 in Little Current for Haweater Weekend.
“I want to be able to keep up,” said Ouimette, who admitted she doesn’t have an athletic background. “Last year, I got discouraged because I tried and had to stop and sit for 20 minutes. I want to get more fit so I can go the whole practice without stopping.”
She credited an encouraging environment of supportive teammates with giving her the confidence to continue pursuing her objective.
Larose said the league will continue to recruit skaters, referees, non-skating officials and volunteers throughout the season. Unlike other sports, there are no tryouts in roller derby — anyone is welcome to join.
No experience is required, and even those who’ve never been on skates can quickly learn the basic skills needed to join the league.
“You don’t need to know anything,” Larose said. “We’ll teach you everything you need to know.”
GSRD hosts its home opener, a double-header, on May 25 at the Copper Cliff Curling Club. Game time is 6 p.m.
For more information, search for the league on Facebook or visit greatersudburyrollerderby.com.
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Lindsay Kelly is a Sudbury-based reporter and skates with GSRD under the name Spellcheck Her.