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Rolling ahead of the pack

Coming off a win at a national tournament last year, the Capital City Rollers are looking to reach for even more ambitious goals.

The Fredericton-based roller derby club’s travel squad, The Spitfires, won in the final bout of the Wainwright, Alberta competition against the East Side Wheelers from Lethbridge, A.B. According to coach Chuck “Motorious B.I.G.” Greer, this was their first tournament victory after several seasons of primarily coming in second.

“It was really different than what we were used to playing,” said Greer. “It should definitely be a good boost for the team.”

Greer said that he was impressed and pleased by the quick tactical adjustments that the team made during their matches. According to him, it puts the team in a good position for the upcoming season.

“It was a lot faster, so being able to adjust to the new style of play and come out on top is a big step forward for the team,” he said.

“This was the first time that [the Fredericton team] has really travelled beyond the Maritime provinces, Maine or Quebec,” said player Molly “Killher” Watts.

According to Watts, the team fundraised for “about a year” to get its roster of 14 players and its coach to the western province.

She also said that the tournament was full of teams that they had never played against, with many “different strategies” and “different flavours.”

Founded in 2010, the Capital City Rollers program has served Fredericton by creating an inclusive athletic environment.

“Even roller derby has a long way to go, but on the whole it’s very inclusive,” Watts said.

“Primarily, [it] is a women’s sport, and it’s really kind of the only sport that you have to put the qualifier of ‘men’s derby’ before it—otherwise, you’re mostly talking about women’s derby, but aside from that,  it’s very inclusive when it comes to gender identity.”

Watts started roller derby in 2011 after having her second daughter, and has been playing ever since.

“They taught me everything, from how to stand on the skates, to how to fall without hurting yourself. I have been in love ever since,” she said.

It’s an experience that the Capital City Rollers try to make available to everyone interested in starting roller derby.

The Capital City Rollers start their Derby 101 program on Oct. 4. They are also hosting an open house on Sept. 25, where those who are interested can take a peek at what roller derby is, learn about the sport and try out some gear.

“We’ve got great trainers—great skate school instructors—so getting people on skates and ready to play isn’t really a problem as long as they work for it,” said Greer. “It’s an amazing community and an amazing sport. I have really never seen another sport build confidence and stuff like this one does.”

For their over-18 program, the Capital City Rollers are looking to have two teams. Watts said that having two teams will help them “cater to everybody” by giving more experienced players the chance to play against higher-level teams and a better learning environment for novice skaters.

Since roller derby is a full contact sport, the Capital City Rollers have an intensive training committee whose goal is to combat this.

“The training committee is very adamant that we do our own off-skates training,” said Watts. “Not only is that to improve our derby game, but it is to prevent injury.”

Watts added that the development of core and all-around strength is vital in learning how to safely fall on the track. It helps to prevent heavy impact injuries, including concussions. In the event that something does happen on the track, the entire organization is insured to protect the players.

“As long as people have the right attitude and are willing to put the work in, we can definitely work with them,” said Greer.

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