Roller Derby is coming to Salt Spring Island on Saturday, July 7 as the Salt Spring Island Tempest junior co-ed roller derby team hosts their first island bout.
The event will be at the Gulf Islands Secondary School gymnasium from around 4 to 9 p.m. (Doors open at 3:30.) The Tempest will play first, followed by an adult bout. This will be the first time that the junior team has played against a visiting team on Salt Spring Island.
“Finally, we’re going to have everyone cheering them on, which is going to feel awesome for them,” said assistant coach Kate Richer. “The kids are super excited. We’ve had the junior team for two years and this is the first time playing on Salt Spring.”
The Tempest is a co-ed junior roller derby team for youth ages 11 to 18. Kids learn everything from basic roller skating skills to more advanced moves and strategies needed to win the game.
Roller derby is more than a brawl on a roller rink. Crews are made up of blockers and jammers. Jammers are the scoring players who try to pass the blockers, race around the track and pass through them a second time. Points are awarded for each time the jammer passes an opposing blocker.
“It can get rough,” Richer said. “It’s not a sport for the light hearted, though we have many kids who are very gentle and they love it. They get to explore that other side of themselves.”
The team practises twice per week at Fulford Hall. The kids start out by learning how to roller skate and it is not until they learn all of the skating skills that they can even start learning the game. Most of the players from the first year came back to play for a second year.
“It’s something that I always look forward to at the end of school, or that I really dread, but it’s definitely something that I’m excited to do,” said Lili Paulin Kuroda, one of the players. “I think that it’s a part of my personality. I think that if I work really hard and I continue with it I can get pretty good.”
One of the more creative parts of being on the team is being able to choose derby names. The nicknames bring out each skater’s persona and are a big part of roller derby culture. Lili “Minie Mimi” Paulin Kuroda, Tammy “Trixie McDinglehopper” Miller and Morgan “Donor” Fry are some examples.
Putting on a roller derby bout is an involved process. A special floor needs to be installed in the gym, and at least 18 officials are required to run a game. Those interested in helping with the floor installation are asked to contact the team through their Facebook page.
Game tickets are available at Windsor Plywood, Axe and Reel and through the team’s Facebook page: The TempestSSIJRD.
For more on this story, see the July 4, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.