Brantford derby girls on a roll
Photo by J.P. Antonacci, Brant News
The Brantford Damnsels of Dread, in orange, took on the Sarnia Anti-Socialites in roller derby action at the Gretzky centre on Friday.
Their league is known as LOCO, but don't call the Damnsels of Dread crazy unless you want an elbow in the ribs.
The Damnsels are Brantford's newest roller derby squad. They play a “low contact” version of the increasingly popular sport, but the women are no strangers to bandages and broken bones.
“It's low contact, but it still gets pretty hairy,” team president Cindy Newlove said before a bout against the Sarnia Anti-Socialites at the Gretzky centre Friday night.
Wearing helmets, mouth guards, knee and elbow pads along with their signature roller skates, the players careen around a closed course. Each team has a speedy player, called the jammer, who tries to score points by evading and passing opposing players, known as blockers.
It's low contact, but only technically – players are still knocked flat and sent spinning out of play.
“It's an adrenalin rush,” Newlove said.
The Damnsels are a mix of veterans and rookies, recent high school graduates and middle-aged moms. Nicknames like Miss Behaved, Cinful and Missus Vicious belie how supportive the players are of their teammates and opponents in the six-team league.
“It's like a big family,” Newlove said, a sentiment confirmed by the Sarnia players who skated for Brantford on Friday to ensure both teams had an equal number of players.
The Damnsels have 12 bout-ready players and five still building up their skills.
“It's open to anybody at any skill level,” Newlove said of the sport.
Vixen Von Smash came to roller derby unable to skate. Today, she is a jammer who fearlessly darts around the track and shoves aside her opponents with authority.
“The biggest thing is getting over your fear,” Von Smash said. “If you can get over your fear and give it everything you've got, you're good to go.”
Newlove invites women interested in taking to the track with the Damsels of Dread to attend an open practice and information session at Woodman Community Centre on Grey Street from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Sept. 8.
“We're always open to new people coming out,” she said.