Today is a big day for the Pile O’ Bones Junior Derby (PBJD) girls as they host their first ever Invitational Scrimmage at the Caledonian Club in Regina, SK stating at 3:00pm; and they couldn’t be more excited about it! “We’re completely overwhelmed with the response. We just put it out on our Facebook page and we have people coming to it from places that I didn’t even know had derby like Hodgeville, Gull Lake, and Moosimin. We literally have people coming in from all over Saskatchewan,” said PBJD coach Sandra Provick, aka Reds Onya. “We’re just so excited about this. This is huge progress for us. If you would have told me a year ago that we would be hosting a game with thirty plus payers I would have laughed because we were still trying to write our own league’s bylaws and recruit girls. We hope we do a good job! We really want all the people that travel here for this to be happy with it and want to come back because it’s only going to get bigger and better!”
The PBJD has been in operation for a just over a year and they’re happy to report that the league is growing at a very health rate. Just last Thursday, September 6th PBJD held an information and recruitment night where they picked up 10 new girls to train, now placing their total numbers at just under 30 skaters. Additionally, the PBJD league has made a big effort to get out into the public eye to raise awareness for their team and sport. Last fall, on September 10th, they held an extremely successful steak night fundraiser and silent auction at The Hub Sports Bar and Grill in Regina. Then earlier this year on May 2nd, they invited locals out to an all you can eat pizza, pasta, and salad night with a silent auction at Tumbler’s Pizza.
Besides the odd fundraiser the PBJD girls have also been going out to as many junior scrimmages as possible. ust this past June 5th, many of the PBJD girls went out to Rocanville to participate in the Flat Track Fever Junior Scrimmage hosted by the Small Town Smashers. Then on June 9th they were in Saskatoon for the Saskatoon Roller Derby League Junior Scrimmage. Most recently, several of the girls attended the Junior Derby Boot Camp in Edmonton put on by the GEJRDA (read about them HERE) where they were trained and assessed by Betty Ford Galaxy of the Rat City Rollergirls. You can also frequently see the PBJD gils skate around with the Canadian flag before most home games for the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club.
Provick coaches the PBJD skaters alongside Lia Skaar, aka Kitty Killswitch, who plays for the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club on the 306th Bombshell Battalion home team. It can sometimes be pretty tough training so many young girls with different personalities but Provick is proud of how she and Skaar have been able to work together to keep everyone in check and progressing at a good pace. “Sometimes their minds wander and sometimes they just want to talk instead of practicing but I’m probably a little bit of the stricter coach so I nip it in the bud right away. Lia is very friendly and passive so I think we make a good team because we have a little bit of the ‘good cop, bad cop’ combo.”
It also helps that Provick and Skaar aren’t on their own for most practices. More often than not they have a handful of the senior skaters from the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club (PBDC) come out to help them run drills and keep an eye on the junior girls. “The girls really like having them there, they like seeing different faces at practice,” said Provick. Among those who come out most often to help train the junior skaters are Jessie Smith (aka Ra Ra Riot), Amy Sheppard (aka Bone Diggity), Katrina Zimbaluk (aka Supertramp), Azure Bee (aka Maiden Sane), and Suzy Smackems. All in all the support from the senior derby girls has been tremendous and Provick is incredibly thankful that so many of them are around to mentor the juniors. In fact, their involvement in junior derby with the young skaters is probably much more important than they think.
Take Provick’s 9 year old daughter Jaden, aka QT PA2T, for example. Jaden started going out to the PBDC games before the league even had a junior derby division and fell in love with it all almost instantaneously. One of the biggest draws to her was seeing other women excel at such a demanding sport and before long she found herself mesmerized by one of PBDC’s star skaters, Maiden Sane. “She’s my role model. As soon as I saw her play I knew this was what I wanted to do,” said Jaden. According to Provick, Jaden has idolized Maiden Sane to the point that she is not only collecting any merchandise related to the teams she plays on but has also been painting her face the same way that Maiden often does at bouts. “She’s so nice, which I didn’t expect because she’s such a good player. I want to be just like her when I grow up,” Jaden explained. “I hope to make team Canada like [she] did. She’s my hero.”
Aside from the great influences around her, Jaden’s mother is also thrilled to have seen her branch out both socially and emotionally. “It has definitely brought out more confidence in her,” said Provick of daughter. “She was never really a sports kind of girl, she did dance and stuff but athletically speaking she’d just kind of want to come home and watch TV. Now she gets really excited to go to practice, she’s made a lot of friends, and she’s progressing [very well] in the sport which is phenomenal for me to see.” The friendships Jaden has made with her new teammates don’t end after practice either. The girls often socialize outside of the game and for the first time ever Jaden will have her derby sisters come to her birthday party. Best part of it all is that young Jaden discovered her love of derby without any pressure from her mom. “It’s just exciting because even though derby is a huge part of my life it has never been something I’ve pushed on her. She was coming to the games herself and she fell in love with it.
The enthusiasm and passion Jaden has for roller derby is shared by all of her teammates and in many ways it overshadows what you might see from a more seasoned skater. “With the adult skaters because we are self-taught, and a self-run league, sometimes we don’t enjoy the sport as much because we’re so focused on all this other stuff like planning bouts, marketing, promoting, and rivalries between teams. With the juniors their just always so excited.” According to Provick you can especially see the difference between adult skaters and junior skaters at scrimmages. “When [adult skaters] scrimmage it’s always like ‘who wants to jam?’ and everybody just slinks off but with the juniors they’re fighting over it and if they don’t get to jam they’re all like ‘aw, man!’ They’re just so enthusiastic. It’s all they want to do. They’re [practically] tripping each other to get up to the jam line first.”
It’s a good thing too that the young skaters like it so much because when it comes down to it, these girls are going to be the ones who shape the future of this sport in ways they may not even fully understand right now. “Because derby was only re-instated as a sport in 2001, the people who are playing and skating now didn’t have the opportunity to start that young,” explained Provick. “With these girls that are starting when they are eight years old, that’s ten years before they start playing adult derby if they decide to stick with it. So you can only imagine the caliber of athletics and skill that these girls are going to have when they turn 18. The bar is just going to keep rising! I think the game is just going to change so much as everyone is going to be this phenomenal skater because they’ve been doing it for forever.” This is all especially important for Provick as she knows her daughter Jaden is going to be an important part of those exciting developments for the sport. “In ten years when she’s old enough to join the PBDC league she’s going to be one of the deadliest rookies they have!”
So make sure you head on down to the Caledonian Club today at 2225 Sandra Schmirler Way to show your support for these young athletes and get a glimpse of what the future of roller derby will look like! Game starts at 3:00pm, tickets are only $5.00 a person and will be available at the door.
To learn more about Pile O’ Bones Junior Derby make sure to check out their Facebook page. If you have any questions or would like to know how your daughter, sister, cousin, or niece can get involved contact Sandra Provick at firstname.lastname@example.org.