The Rocky View Roller Derby Association (RVRDA) is holding its semi-annual Try-It Night Sept. 19, offering women aged 18 and older in Airdrie the chance to learn the ins and outs of roller derby.
The event is free, includes all necessary equipment and takes place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the King’s Court Church in Airdrie.
“We give a breakdown on the equipment, the game, the rules and what it entails,” said Sheena Galvin, a member with the RVRDA who handles external relations, events and sponsorship. “We also let them into our world as far as what we do for the community, how we give back, our games, tournaments and that sort of thing.”
The RVRDA was established in 2012 and currently boasts about 30 members, according to Galvin. She said the association started as an apprentice league team, but joined the Class C league in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association in 2017.
Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five, comprising four blockers and a jammer. The two teams roller skate counter-clockwise around a track, while the jammers attempt to score points by lapping the opposing team’s blockers. The blockers, meanwhile, try to prevent the other team’s jammer from passing.
Apart from roller derby being a really good workout, Galvin said, one of the sport’s appeals is its inclusivity.
“A lot of women were maybe not encouraged to do sports in school, or they weren’t good at sports in school, such as soccer, volleyball or that sort of thing,” she said.
“We just want to let women know it doesn’t matter what your age, shape or size is – you can be an athlete, too, in the sport of roller derby.”
The RVRDA is based out of Airdrie, but includes women from Cochrane, Crossfield, Carstairs, Calgary and even a few as far away as Canmore.
While the official season does not start until April, Galvin said, the RVRDA trains throughout the fall and winter – taking only December off – as it prepares for the upcoming games.
For newcomers to the RVRDA, Galvin said, an eight-week training program is necessary before “fresh meat” – the roller derby name for rookies – are allowed to compete in a full-fledged game.
According to Galvin, the training program teaches fundamental skills that fresh meat need before they’re able to safely participate in a roller derby match.
“We work on skills as far as how to skate, how to fall – all the benchmark skills that people need to pass in order to make it onto the team,” she said. “We have to make sure those skills are demonstrated before we let them actually play a game.”
Galvin said those interested in attending the Try-It Night can contact the RVRDA through its Facebook page – Rocky View Rollers – or by simply showing up Sept. 19.
For younger girls who wish to give roller derby a try, the Rocky View Junior Derby Association (RVJDA) is also based out of Airdrie and offers learn-to-skate and junior derby programs for girls aged six to 17. Registration is now open for the RVJDA 2018-19 season.
For more information, visit rvjda.com/joinus