Sunday February 5, 2012
Queens of the Flat Track
Dollz have no fear of falling
A player waits for the other team during the roller derby scrimmage at the Landing January 30th.
mack. That's the sound of flesh hitting the floor during the Voodoo Dollz roller derby scrimmage at the Landing last week. The sport is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and it's being touted as a great way to stay in shape and enjoy the camaraderie of team sports. Crank the music, grab a seat and fans are right back where they were four decades ago.
Even at it's peak in the 70s, roller derby with it's dynamic banked tracks, was still ranked somewhere between Santa Claus and spelling bees and labeled a "trash sport" like Frisbee dogs or yo-yo championships.
That was then. Fast forward to now, and you'll see the sport has re-established itself in a legitimate way thanks to the work of local Voodoo Dollz skater, Nina Lehtonen, aka Boot Kick-Her #101, who was at the Landing Sports Centre Saturday for the scrimmage. She took a moment from coaching to speak with the Voice about the league.
Lehtonen wasn't skating Saturday due to an illness that she's currently recovering from, but even when she's not well, they still can't keep her away from the rink.
"I'm just here for moral support and to do some coaching right now with some of our sisters from around the Lower Mainland, and out as far as the island and Kelowna," she said. "We actually have more than two teams here today, about 31 skaters, plus the referees."
When the skaters split off into teams, they couldn't tell each other apart, so someone used some female ingenuity and half the were handed a styling pair of panties to put on their helmets. Just don't ask the big guy with the tattoos what he was doing running around with women's underwear on his head.
Lehtonen says the Vancouver leagues are the matriarchs because they've been around since 2006.
When asked how the league was doing this year in the Fraser Valley, Lehtonen says it couldn't be better.
"We've got a really good foundation. We have a new recruitment February 19th and we're building a good strong team right now, and we're going to be setting up some scrimmages this year plus games," she said. "We're waiting on the city for our bookings for here or at Prospera Centre wherever we can get the rink time."
The players come and go and new players shouldn't expect to jump in the day they sign up in the league. Training does take a while. They don't want players on the track who may hurt themselves or others.
"That's one of the great things about our league," says Lehtonen "we train people from scratch."
"The number one thing people are afraid of is falling, so I teach them how to fall. Falling is fun, that's why it starts with and F," she quipped. "When you overcome the fear of falling and realize your gear is here to protect you, it's not that bad after all."
There's no bona fide roller rinks in Chilliwack or the Lower Mainland like JJ's in Abbotsford and Stardust in Surrey or the now defunct Rollerland at the PNE in Vancouver.
The women want a facility where they can hang their skates. Apparently, an idea is in the works which includes a business plan for a public roller rink in Chilliwack and according to Lehtonen, there is government funding available.
"That's the one thing we'd like to really push for, because if anyone wants us to do anything recreational, family-wise even, you have to go to Gateway in Lynden Washington — if you want to do roller skating," said Lehtonen.
"Roller skating is such a big hot thing right now and it's growing like wild fire."
Last but not least is... the waiver.
When: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Time: 10:30am until 12:00pm
Where: The Landing Sports Center, 45530 Spadina Avenue, Chilliwack BC
In Chilliwack connect with the team on Facebook here.
See more scrimmage photos below.
© Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice
The end of the gallery. Thanks for looking and thanks also to the Dollz for their invitation to the scrimmage.