I didn’t know how it was played.
How many people. I didn’t even know it existed in
Toronto, but I thought it was super cool so I got a set of skates.
I got them 30 minutes before my first practise and signed up.
That was in May 2015 and I’ve been doing it ever since. The roller derby scene in Toronto is
pretty unique. We’re a big city with a lot of people in it,
which is cool. It means that Toronto roller derby can have 100
people in it at any given time.
It means that we have four home teams that get to compete against each other, which is pretty unheard of in other Ontario roller derby scenes. They’re pretty much small towns
and they have to travel to play against other people, so we’re really lucky. To train for roller derby games is a really long process. You have to learn how to skate.
It usually takes three months to get your wheels underneath you
in a way that you can skate around and not
fall down all the time. After that, you have to learn the mechanics of the game. You have to learn
how scoring works. There’s tons of strategy involved too.
I would say our season, we play against each other
for three months, but we have like six months building that.
Six to eight months. A roller derby match is called a bout. It is two teams facing against each other to try and get the most
amount of points in about an hour of game play. We’ve got two 30 minute periods and a halftime between that.
Each of those periods is made up of these
things called jams, which could go up to two minutes but can be as short as 10 or 15 seconds. On the track there are skaters called
jammers and blockers.
Jammers try to get points by lapping other skaters and blockers try to stop them by any means necessary as long as it is legal contact. Toronto roller derby is entirely volunteer organization.
We don’t have people with paid positions or anything like that.
So we have to find a space to rent in Toronto where we can
put down a derby track which is no small feat.
We need at least a hockey rink’s worth of space. Our referees are also volunteer positions.
You need 7 referees to play a game of roller derby. This is probably like the build up of months and months of work for
Toronto roller derby. [Everyone] Skate fast! Eat trash! The day of, we have to do Everyone has to show up and help set up for the bout,
so everyone has to lay the track or set up the bar or help NSO or do something to make sure
the production goes on. We also do off-skates warm-up to make sure our bodies are warm
and ready to go. We do an on-skates warm-up where we’re making sure our wheels are good with the floor that we’re using.
We know if the floor is slippery or sticky, which make a huge difference
with the way that you play. And we always do a team cheer right before the whistle. I’m so sure that I don’t look like
the typical athlete and love the fact that I actually am.
If you watch the games, you will totally see that there’s a lot
of athleticism that goes into this game. And I love the fact that I can play roller
derby, be an athlete. I can do it with black lipstick on. My friends can do it with blue lipstick.
We can do it with winged eyeliner and it doesn’t change the
fact that we are athletes and we’re so good at
what we do.