The Sarnia Roller Derby League is inviting newcomers to try one of the fastest growing sports in North America.
“I like the alter ego that you become when you play,” says Dana Johnson, known as ‘Wild Child’ on the track.
“How can you not have fun on roller skates? she asked. “Have you ever seen a sad person on roller skates?”
From humble beginnings two years ago the city organization has grown to three teams and nearly 60 players.
That includes a junior team, with players aged 8-17, and low-contact and full-contact teams for those over 18-years-old.
The full contact team, the Sarnia ChinStraps, plays in a league with London, Brantford, Kitchener, Stratford and Toronto, while the Sarnia Anti-Socialities and Sarnia Mini-Massacre Juniors play exhibition schedules.
The junior game is a no contact affair.
“I like the fact that anybody can play,” says League President Nadine Dafoe. “We have stay-at-home moms, professionals, tradespeople, you name it,” says Dafoe, also known as Buffy Bodybag.
Regardless of shape or size it’s a sport anyone can enjoy, Dafoe says, adding some skating endurance is a definite plus.
The junior team is flourishing, she says.
“We put kids on skates who have never played before and within a couple of weeks they’re ready to go.”
Players come from all over Lambton County, including Sarnia, Wyoming, Petrolia, Corunna, Sombra and Port Lambton.
The teams practice at the Point Edward Arena on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. from mid-May to the end of July. For the rest of the year, their practices are held at Central United Church.
Interested players can try the sport for two weeks at any time, at no cost, with the club offering free rental skates and equipment.
But after that, potential players must attend a training camp to be taught the basics of the game and purchase insurance at a cost of $50 per year.
“We don’t just throw people out there and hope for the best,” says Johnson.
The low contact team and junior squad are hosting teams from London in exhibition games at the Greenwood Recreation Centre in Petrolia on Saturday, May 31.
Doors open at 1 p.m., and wheels will roll an hour later.
Admission is $5 for adults, free for children under 10.
For more information, go to the website www.sarniarollerderby.com or see the organization on Facebook or Twitter.
– Barry Wright