It’s not your parent’s roller derby

Amazombie’s spider-like legs take long strides as she steps over a pile of downed victims. Ms. Shell Shockk slams into a woman who’s approaching from behind and instantly knocks her to the ground. Tiki TimeBomb ducks and dodges her enemies as one after another they try unsuccessfully to hit her off her feet.

Amazombie’s spider-like legs take long strides as she steps over a pile of downed victims. Ms. Shell Shockk slams into a woman who’s approaching from behind and instantly knocks her to the ground. Tiki TimeBomb ducks and dodges her enemies as one after another they try unsuccessfully to hit her off her feet.

No, this isn’t a sci-fi zombie attack movie with robots and explosions. This is roller derby.

And it’s the sport I’ve been involved with for more than five years – the strange hobby I’ve been deeply committed to, especially over the last two years since I’ve been with Vancouver’s Terminal City Rollergirls (TCRG).

I’d never played sports before joining roller derby. I hated PE class in school and was far too nervous and lacked the confidence to be on a sports team as a kid.

But roller derby was different. The fact that it is played on roller skates (not inline skates) piqued my interest, so I joined and soon learned what flat-track roller derby was all about.

For those of you with old-school roller derby memories, I would like to point out that today’s roller derby is not like it was in the ‘70s. There’s no elbow-throwing (that’s a penalty), there’s no tripping (also a penalty), and there’s no punching or fighting (that would be an expulsion). Roller derby is a legitimate, hard-hitting, full-contact sport consisting of athleticism, strategy and dedication — and a whole lot of fun.

Last year I was drafted to the TCRG’s Faster Pussycats — a frisky team of skaters with serious interests in grammar, arts, computers, math, first aid and potluck dinners. It was the nerd team, and I fit right in.

On the track my name is Hydro-Jenna Bomb, or H-Bomb for short. Amazombie, Ms. Shell Shockk and Tiki TimeBomb are all on my team. We also have 8-Mean Wheeler, Mary Queen of Shotz, and IonA BeerWagon. In the world of derby, everyone has a nickname and that’s what you’re known as to your team, your coaches and your league.

When I joined the Pussycats in 2010, they had not yet won a TCRG league game. They were always in last place, always the team that could be beat. During that season (my rookie year on the team) we continued to lose every single league game.

But that didn’t matter. We made goals at the beginning of the year, one of which was to win an inter-league game. We succeeded.

This year we made different goals — we wanted to win an intra-league game. Again, we succeeded. The first house team we played and beat was the new, rookie-heavy gang called Public Frenemy. We even shut them out in the first period, a first in TCRG history.

But it didn’t stop there. We played and won every game this year leading up to the championship. We were undefeated and there was a good reason for it. We worked hard for eight months to improve as a team and to perfect our game. With two or three on-skate practices a week, in addition to several off-skate exercises, we built up our skating skills and our fitness levels. We focussed more on game strategy and how to be smart on the track.

Championship game day arrived this past weekend, on Sept. 10, and we were playing against (will you believe?) rookie team Public Frenemy. They too had worked incredibly hard to get to the same spot as us Pussycats. But we weren’t going to back down.

After winning the team introduction (by audience applause), featuring a spectacular and well-synchronized figure-eight movement to the tune of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, and winning the crowd’s hearts, we won the championship game. We, the Faster Pussycats, who had never won a league game in TCRG’s five years of existence until this year, won the championship trophy. We wanted it, and we deserved it.

In the two years I’ve been a Pussycat, never once did my team let one another down. Never once did a teammate disrespect another teammate. Never once did we argue.

We simply worked hard and fought together to earn what was rightfully ours, the Mercury Shield. And just like the Stanley Cup, we each took a turn hoisting it proudly above our heads as we skated around the arena Saturday night. That night, I’m sure each of my fellow cats thought about our journey of building a team with zero wins to a team with zero losses.

Going from underdogs to cats with the upper paw sure feels great.

Jenna Hauck is a photojournalist with the Chilliwack Progress

photo@theprogress.com

Just Posted

Public to get access to ‘detailed listing of expenditures’ incurred by council every year

Newly amended Council Remuneration and Expense Bylaw given three readings and approved Sept. 19

Chilliwack man charged in 2017 drug bust pleads guilty, released on time served

Second accused still faces numerous trafficking and weapons charges

Barn fire closes Prairie Central Road

Fire quickly brought under control

Kevin Wall hits ground running with Chilliwack Chiefs

With four goals in his first five junior A BCHL games, the New York native has had an instant impact

Strong demand for cannabis retail applications anticipated in Chilliwack

Chilliwack council approves new cannabis retail zone and will monitor how it works for a year

VIDEO: Education Minister talks SOGI 123 and the Chilliwack school board election

He said people are making ‘noise about side issues but student safety is important’

Recent jump in U.S. butter imports? All smooth, says Canadian dairy farmers

U.S. farmers recently enjoyed extra access to the Canadian market

Potential replacements for Phoenix pay system to start testing soon: Brison

Testing of prototypes to replace troubled federal pay system will begin within weeks

Nanaimo’s Tilray Inc. briefly the world’s largest cannabis company

The company, only listed in the US, nearly reached $300 in afternoon trading on Wednesday

Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart released from prison

Smart was 14 years old when she was snatched from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 by street preacher Brian David Mitchell

New York books editor out after backlash over Jian Ghomeshi essay

Ian Buruma, who was appointed as editor of the New York Review of Books in late 2017, no longer works for the publication

B.C. couple plans sustainable, zero-waste life in the Shuswap

Plan includes building a tiny house before the snow flies

‘Furry-tail’ ending for cat family rescued from under B.C. bridge

A special mewment for the kittens, soon to be sent to Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven

Housing slowdown forecast to cool B.C. economy

Conference Board says pipeline, trade uncertainty affecting investment

Most Read