Smells Like Sask Spirit

The modern era of derby we find ourselves in has always come with, what I feel, is a counter-productive label: “do it yourself”. If you are not aware of what this means, up until recent years roller derby has operated primarily on an amateur, grassroots level. It was cute in Whip It! but it’s 2013 now and I think we can all agree that we’re not playing the Hollywood version of the game. Leagues still, more often than not, do everything themselves. They get their own local funding, they seek their own sponsorship, they secure their own venues, build their own fan base and they recruit their own skaters, officials, volunteers, and support staff. On top of this they also often learn the rules completely by themselves, learn to skate by themselves and very, very slowly learn about the vast derby community out there. Granted, this may have worked great in the early resurgent years but I feel we’re well past that now and it’s time to stop spinning our wheels.

So, what is the DIY approach actually doing for the SPORT right now? In my opinion, absolutely nothing. Furthermore, learning the rules and skating skills almost completely on your own, with minimal guidance from wiser sources, is doing nothing to bring us up to speed with out neighboring provinces and actually leads to unsafe bouting for us all.

What essentially exists now in Saskatchewan are a series of local derby clubs loosely connected by a shared hobby. We play together, which is great, but what is the point of it all? What is the end game? Are we doing enough, right now, to ensure that roller derby continues to thrive in this province for the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Do we care about what derby might look like in Saskatchewan 20 years down the road? I do and with the Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association, leadership and mentorship from within our community,  interacting more with our neighboring provinces and by working together to build province wide fans I think our next couple of years could be the best any of us have ever seen before! I mean how cool would it be to see not only derby folk but the general public from nearby cities coming to see the big game you’re putting on because they just love derby so much?

 

A Look Back at Saskatchewan Roller Derby in 2013:

So, just what is Saskatchewan truly capable of? Here, let me show you:

  • March 15th to 17th – Kurz So Good (Saskatoon), Left Turn Don (Regina), Toxic (Regina), Kevlar (Moose Jaw), Sistah Twista (Regina), Bruce Payne (Regina), B-Lethal (Regina) and Quantum Chaos (Saskatoon) served as officials at the 2012 RDAC Nationals. They were all outstanding ambassadors and learned a great deal to share with their peers back home!
  • March 17th – SRDL Mindfox Won 2012 RDAC Nationals
  • March 17th – PBDC Sugar Skulls took Second Place at 2012 RDAC Nationals
  • April 19th to 21st – Derby legend (from banked track in the 1960s) Gwen “Skinny Minnie” Miller was a guest of honor in Moose Jaw during the Big Hit Boot Camp where she  talked with members of the modern era of roller derby, answered questions and got to see Saskatchewan talent show her how much the sport had grown.
  • April 20th – Team Sask Roller Derby (Women’s team) played their inaugural bout in Moose Jaw against Team Alberta during the LCRD’s Big Hit Boot Camp.
  • April 12th to 14th – Kurz So Good (Saskatoon), J$ (Wadena), Toxic (Regina), Left Turn Don (Regina), Kevlar (Moose Jaw), Hang 11 (Saskatoon), QT Sly (Saskatoon), Doom Cookie (Regina) and Betty Believit (Swift Current) all served as officials at Flat Track Fever 2013, bringing back a plethora of knowledge and experience to the rest of the province!
  • April 14th- SRDL Mindfox Took Second Place in the Women’s Competition at Flat Track Fever 2013
  • July 7th – Redneck Betties hosted the province’s FIRST ever Men’s Derby scrim in Swift Current. This event featured many Saskatchewan based refs playing for the first time ever, as well as guest skaters from Alberta.
  • August 10th and 11th – After RDAC withdrew support from their planned regional tournaments, the whole province came together to help the Lil Chicago Roller Derby league host Centrals in Moose Jaw this past August.
  • September 15th – Shomie Urhits, from Swift Current, was the only Saskatchewan skater to try out for Team Men’s Roller Derby in Red Deer, AB. He gave it his all at and impressed not only the selection committee but the other skaters as well.
  • October 19th – Shomie Urhits played his first full-fledged men’s derby game as #98 with Edmonton’s River City Riot against the CCRD Reservoir Dogs.
  • November 23rd – SRDL were hosts of the Blood & Thunder Team Canada Central Tryouts held in Saskatoon.
  • November 25th – After 5 months of behind the scenes planning and growth, Men’s Team Sask Roller Derby was announced (first official men’s derby team in the province!)
  • December 201th – Kurz So Good of Saskatoon was accepted as a skating official for 2014 Men’s World Cup in the UK

That’s a lot to be proud of! Lets keep this ball of awesomeness rolling by us all giving it a big push together! I mean, that’s just a small snippet of my own personal experiences and observations during the course of 2013. I can only imagine what other accomplishments were made.

 

Why the SRDA nominations and vote is important:

At this point in the game, I feel that Saskatchewan needs to shed the “do it yourself” attitude and adopt more of a do it TOGETHER approach. Now, I’m not saying that we’re all going to have to start doing the work of our neighbor leagues, far from it. Leagues will still have to secure their own venues, build local interest, buy their own supplies and serve as good hosts do when putting on events. But what we CAN do for each other, together, is make derby a REAL sport in Saskatchewan. We can share resources with each other. We can seek certification and training with the WFTDA, the Junior Roller Derby Association, the National Coaching Certification Program, and other similar programs. We can have a larger, more unified voice in seeking accreditation and recognition with SaskSport, KidSports, and additional organizations. We can talk to the Saskatchewan Transportation Company about potential sponsorship deals to help our provincial teams have access to affordable travel. We can look to coordinate more exhibition games so that our local audiences become a PROVINCIAL audience. We can join forces to promote ourselves and seek province wide media coverage with organizations like Shaw and/or SaskTel. We can make an effort to mentor and train our newest skaters and officials by traveling more frequently between our cities. We can seek to bring in outside knowledge from the United States, our neighboring provinces, the WFTDA and the MRDA to expand our understanding of the game.

Don’t be idle, be active! Nominations can STILL be made through the SRDA Nomination Form. Positions are described within and last I heard there still hasn’t been anybody put in for Secretary/Treasurer. If you have any comments, questions and/or concerns about the nomination process and voting, please contact Susanne “Prone TViolence” Babcock at sbabcock@sasktel.net.

Then, when voting begins shortly, VOTE. Tell your derby wife to vote. Tell your teammates to vote. Tell everyone you know across the province to vote!

Lets make 2014 the best year for derby that our province has ever seen and take the first steps toward leaving something MAGNIFICENT for our juniors, and future derby members, to inherit.

 

Headshot1Written by Kevin “Kevlar” Dennison

Hell Yeah, I’m Pumped!

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