First Snow, Last Chance
By Hannah “WillKillSome” Wilkinson
Derby Frontier Blogger
On November 17th, 2012 I hopped in the car and headed out to Springside, SK with Kevlar and Slowly-Butt Shirley for the First Snow, Last Chance invitational. It was put on by the Yorkton Roller Derby League (YRDL), and I was really excited because it had been a while since I last played in a game. J$, Commie, and Kimakazzi Hyshka (of the YRDL) organized it, and it sounded like it would be a lot of fun. The proceeds will help to fund a training camp in March that will be held in Springside at the same venue. I talked to J$ before First Snow to find out some more about the event.
HW: What made you decide to put on this event?
J$: Commie and I helped Yorkton get up and running and are looking at getting a league going in the Wadena area as well so we are hoping to bring interest through this event.
HW: First Snow, Last Chance is being held in Springside, not Yorkton. Why is that?
J$: Springside has a natural ice rink so they are one of the last places still available to hold an event in the area. We are going to be holding a training camp in March. The date is still undecided but it will be at the same venue.
HW: Do you have any info you can share with us about the camp?
J$: It will be a weekend event with Commie doing most of the training for the skaters, guest coaches as well as a ref clinic are in the works. The training camp will be open to anyone, and as the details unfold we will let everyone know.
Sounds like fun! So, as we were driving in to Springside, it started to get a little foggy. Or maybe more than a little. But we made it with about 15 minutes to spare. I walked in, and as I’m signing up, Commie comes up to me and asks me if I’m playing in both games. I was kinda confused because I was under the impression that I signed up for one game that was not advanced. I am more of a lower B level skater right now. Alas…
So I said to her, “Ummm… That’s an option? The second one is co-ed, isn’t it?” I assumed that the co-ed one would be a higher level game. Those co-ed games usually end up being above my level. But ever since I found out they existed, I’ve really wanted to play in one. Really. A lot.
“Yeah, do you want to?”
Hold the phone! Two games in one day? That’s intense. I suppose I could bench myself for a bit if I can’t handle it. But derby is awesome. So I said yes. Oh man! Co-ed!
By then I had about 15 minutes to get ready and warmed up for the first game. There were still girls getting ready in the dressing room, so I wasn’t the only last minute type. I got all suited up and went out to get warmed up. And then I had to go back to get my sweater. It was sooooo cold!!!! Being a natural ice rink, it is not heated in the skating area. They brought in heaters, but it hadn’t had time to warm up much. I could see my breath! So I skated around and hoped that I would be warm and stretched enough.
Because there weren’t enough skaters for different games or lines according to skill level, it was a very mixed level team. Some girls were playing their first game, and some were very high level skaters. I was somewhere in the middle. It ended up being a great learning experience for me. A lot of the girls (on the white team at least. I don’t know what the black team roster was like) were way more experienced than me. As a result, there was a lot of great communication going on. I really felt like we played well together considering that we had never played together before. I had never played with these girls before, at least. I think a lot of them were league-mates. I’m not a jammer, but we all had to jam. I jammed twice. I was in the box twice. Hmmm…
The white team won in the end. I don’t know what the score was. What I do know is that I played hard and had a blast. Everyone I talked to after the game had a lot of fun, too. One of the girls on the white team felt that she wasn’t doing well because it was her first game. But she did way better than I did at my first game, that’s for sure. I would have never guessed that anyone out there was very inexperienced. Except for me. My head was too swively and then people would hit me when I wasn’t looking. Oops.
During the first game I used all my “Zen Derby” powers to conserve energy and adrenaline for the second game (thanks Bonnie D. Stroir!). I also used those powers in the second game. Good thing I did, because that game was way more intense than the first. As I said earlier, the second game was co-ed. This one wasn’t super co-ed, as only three guys were able to come, but that’s co-ed enough for me! Some of the girls didn’t really want to play co-ed, so they were put on the same team as the guys so they wouldn’t have to play against the guys if they didn’t want to.
The co-ed game was pretty exciting for me. I jammed a few times. We all did. I didn’t get in the box in the second game. Go me! Unfortunately for the black team, Little Assassin was in the box a lot, and got ejected. It was pretty funny. Don’t worry, she thought so too. I hit a lot of people. Or tried to, at least. I hit boys! I also got hit a lot. Especially by Little Assassin and Corporal Punishment. I’m writing this two days later, and I still hurt a lot!
I was talking to Maiden Sane (PBDC) about invitationals after the first game, and she said, “Invitationals are a blast, and I like the floor here. They (invitationals) help you grow as a skater, and meet new friends.” I totally agree. “It’s so cold in here!” she added, laughing. I agree with that, too. Luckily, the dressing rooms had heated floors!!!! That’s right. I had never seen that before. Those dressing rooms were like a warm flannel blanket fresh out of the dryer on a cold winter day.
One off track highlight for me was buying a bearing cleaner from Demolition Herbie. He was selling gear for Bad Girlfriend Skates. This container is pretty nifty, and I’m really excited to use it. But I will talk more about that in a different article. A few other highlights on the ref’s end of things were the ref wipeouts! Kevlar tripped up Slowly-Butt Shirley, and made her fall. Later on, Shomie Urhits got caught up in Shirley’s skates, making her fall. As she fell, she took him down, and as they went down, they took out Lucha Libre! Someone in the stands loved it, and yelled out, “Yeaaaahhhh!!!!” Then Kevlar died laughing in the centre of the track. So now his website is all mine… Yesssss… Just joking. He came back to life in time to drive back to Saskatoon in the thickest fog ever.
Afterwards, I was able to chat with Kimakazzi, and she said that although the turn out was a little disappointing, they are planning to do much better next year. “We will get them next time, as our venue will do anything to have us back. He wants us to be able to call his venue home.”
All in all, it was a great day. We all had fun, and I fulfilled my derby dream of playing in a co-ed bout. I talked to J$ afterwards, and he said that although there were some set backs (as there are in all bouts), they had an amazing time, and are gearing up for next year already! So keep checking back with us at the Derby Frontier, and we’ll try to keep you in the know.