Last weekend was a milestone for me. It was a number of different things. It was my first time playing…
- In a real roller derby bout,
- With the Bombshell Brawlers, and it makes me sad that I’m not actually on that amazing team,
- Against non Winnipeg Roller Derby League players,
- More than one game in one day,
- In a different country, and
- For any sort of ranking.
It all happened extremely last minute too. While at practice on Thursday, one of the girls that was supposed to be playing sprained her ankle badly in the last five minutes of practice (and I’m so glad you’re able to hobble around again!).
I was already going down to Grand Forks to cheer for our team, so I offered to play, not realizing that I would actually be added to the Brawlers’ roster, and not realizing it was a tournament. Even when I was added to the roster, I was an alternate, meaning I probably wouldn’t play.
Until more people playing developed the “Manitoba plague” that seemed to be going around the league, in which case our bench coach said, “you’re definitely playing.”
For those who are unaware, sports haven’t been a big part of my life for a long time. In fact, I haven’t played a team sport since I was in elementary school playing soccer… where I was benched for most games. So being thrown into a game situation is still extremely nerve wracking to me, when it really shouldn’t be.
All of the ladies in our league are far different from when I played soccer though. They’re all extremely supportive, and even if I would go out and have a crappy jam, I’d still get a pat on the shoulder and was told not to worry about it and that the next jam would be better.
Even the players on the other teams were reassuring! The first team we played, the A-Town Roller Girls, came up to us a few times after the bout to tell us how awesome we played.
Now of course the tournament wasn’t all peachy perfect. Playing three games in one day was one of the most exhausting things I’ve had to do. I remember a moment during our second game where I was sitting on the bench staring into space, extremely tired, when our bench coach tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey. Your teammates are beside you, work out a plan.”
By the time the third game came around, we had gone from 13 players down to 11. One player suffered from food poisoning and another girl got a toe stop to the back of the neck and was brought to the hospital. Two other girls didn’t give up, but were still struggling with past injuries. It reminds me of this one quote that’s been going around throughout our league that sums it up almost perfectly.
We ruin our bodies to save our souls, and for some reason that makes perfect sense. – Bonnie D. Stroir
No matter how bad some girls injure themselves, it always seems so difficult to leave the community.
The third game we played was against Brandon’s Gang Green, and by half time, we knew there was no way we were going to win the game. We were far too behind, and far too exhausted.
So instead we decided to have some fun instead! We started cheering, “Brawlers! Brawlers! Brawlers!” We also danced on the line while we waited for jams to start, and started trying trying some moves that we would normally never try during a bout (like jumping the apex. Kudos to the girls who tried!)
And at the end of it all, we were so thrilled that we not only made it through the day, but also won two games in the process. When we were awarded with medals we all started cheering, “we’re number 2!” like in the movie Whip It! and I’m sure I can speak for all of us that I couldn’t be happier to be number 2.
It’s weekends like this that really make me see how much this sport has had a positive impact on my life, even if I have and will suffer physical pain from it. The pros most definitely outweigh the odds.
Don’t believe me? Hear it from other members of the league as well! Eden Ramsay, a CreComm student that finished her second year this year, made a small documentary about the WRDL that sums up how I feel perfectly. Check it out below.
(Insert shameless self promotion): Have you wanted to come check out roller derby? We have a fun themed game coming up! Our Pride themed bout is on May 30. Check out the WRDL website for more information. I also have tickets and there will be more at the door.