This is a guest post by Disloyalist triple threat Manic Breeze.
On Sunday night, Banger Management and I arrived at the Ancaster Fairground outside of Hamilton for the first ever Ontario Skills Competition, put on by Rollerbug and Los Coños Roller Derby of Hamilton. We were full of anticipation as we put on our gear and looked around the track to size up our competition.
A plethora of fine, powerful womyn were there to represent eight leagues and fourteen teams, including (to my fear and excitement) Motorhead Molly and Killson, who both played for Team Canada in the Roller Derby World Cup in 2011. Other names were new to me, and now I can add Sofanda Beatin’ (Vicious Dishes) and Bruiseberry Pie (CN Power) to the list of womyn who dazzle and terrify me. There were 28 skaters total, one jammer and one pivot per team.
There were five events to determine which league would come away with the coveted golden peach, symbolizing the best roller derby skills in Ontario! Check out the video here to see the events explained in greater detail.
Only one player could represent her team for each of four events: a one-lap sprint, a five-lap full-contact sprint, a scrum start competition, and an obstacle course. All 28 skaters at the competition got to participate in the final showdown, a last-woman-standing event. Banger Management and I had talked about dividing the events according to our skill sets, but the event planners threw a wrench in our plans by having us draw straws to see whether the jammer or pivot would represent in the scrum start event. Unfortunately for us, we drew the jammer straw, and I lost by a hair, trying to get past four phenomenal blockers in 20 seconds. This meant, for us, that Banger would compete in the obstacle course.
In the end, it was great that the fateful straw was pulled to put me in the scrum start contest, leaving Banger to work some magic among the obstacles. There were fourteen skaters, each representing a team, who competed one-on-one, working against the clock to move on to the next round. The biggest issue skaters had in this event was control. Skaters were moving frantically to keep their speed up. As soon as they messed up one obstacle (if you knocked a bar down as you jumped it, you had to reset the bar and re-do the jump), they lost a lot of time. They could only make up their time if their opponent made a similar mistake. Banger moved fluidly through each round, with careful control and determination, and a solid display of jumping, diving, weaving, and hitting skills. It was a beautiful thing to watch! She came out on top in this event, winning our team 50 points! Banger, you are a proficient athlete and you made me so proud to be on your team!
Banger also competed in the five-lap full-contact sprint, making it through the first 2 rounds, and scoring us 20 points.
I competed for the Disloyalists in the one-lap sprint. There were 14 jammers skating in this contest, and I looked around at the experienced, long-legged, and muscular womyn around me and laughed inwardly, reminding myself that that I was here for fun. To my amazement, I beat the first jammer I was against…and then the second…and the third, and suddenly everyone else had been eliminated besides me and Killson! What? I was in the finals!? We raced, and the refs didn’t know who crossed their line first. So we lined up again, and I took some deep breaths, and stared the ref down, steadying myself with the thought that I was going to make my win obvious to him this time. The room seemed deadly quiet and I was in some sort of elevated state as the whistle blew. I pushed myself, lactic acid flooding my leg muscles — I won! 50 more points for the Disloyalists!
The final event included all 28 skaters, and the teams played strategically, working with their partner (and sometimes creating alliances with their whole league), avoiding hits, steering clear of catastrophes like the one Banger and I got eliminated in (at the exact same moment, we both fell!). Three full songs played as the numbers dwindled. The Total Knock-Outs took the win in this event, with both skaters remaining standing after all the other teams had fallen.
All in all, we came in third place at 120 points. It was an honour to compete against these adroit and talented skaters, and to get to represent KDG in this thrilling Skills Competition! Big ups to the Venus Fly Tramps, who took the victory at 160 points.