Described as “rugby on roller skates,” roller derby is smashing its way into the South Cariboo.
Alternating biweekly between Sundays and Mondays at the Rolf Zeis Arena in Lac la Hache, Sally Slappursilly, otherwise known as Heather de Ruiter, is teaching basic roller derby skills to ladies around the South Cariboo.
The group is an extension of the Williams Lake Puddle Pounders and Slappursilly, who lives at Timothy Lake, invites anyone who wants to give it a try to show up at the arena.
Slappursilly is hoping that people who want to join but who may have been put off by the long drive to Williams Lake will come out to give it a try.
Slappursilly has 12 pairs of roller skates that people can give a go but encourages people to bring their own knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, mouth guard and helmet. For those who don’t have access, she does have some gear to lend.
Otherwise: “You need to be able to walk. If you can walk, you can skate.”
Roller derby is a fast-paced, high impact sport, played mainly by women.
“Some people would relate it to rugby on roller skates or a version of a hockey game, but on the track, there are no balls, there are no sticks. It’s human power.”
Players skate in two teams around an oval while the designated “jammer” from each team attempts to pass the other team.
Points are scored when the jammer passes the other team.
The team with the most points wins so each team attempts to help their point scorer while preventing the other from passing.”
“You are moving fast. There’s a lot of camaraderie. Your teammates end up being your friends. You meet people you normally wouldn’t from totally different fields of career choices, background, religion, cultures and you have something in common and you find a lot of friendships,” says Slappursilly.
As you may have guessed, Slappursilly is not de Ruiter’s real name, it’s her roller derby alter ego. Skaters get to choose their own names and alter egos for the sport.
“When I go play derby I normally leave the kids at home. That’s my time,” says Slappursilly, although she does note the players are more than happy to have parents bring their kids to practice.
Once the summer is over, Slappursilly’s hope is to either find a place in the South Cariboo to continue roller derby into the winter or get enough women interested in making the trip into Williams Lake once a week.
“Roller derby is giving me a lot of empowerment.”
The next practice will take place on Sunday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then will switch back to the Monday rotation starting at 7 p.m.
For more information give de Ruiter a call at 250-396-7676 or contact her via the “Puddle Pounders Roller Derby” Facebook page.