The Beast Within – Squamish Roller Derby

Some might complain that Squamish doesn’t necessarily offer them the glamour and “hustle-bustle” that our neighbouring metropolis provides. No erratic drivers laying on the horns of their stooped up sports cars, no chaotic intersections, no flashing sirens, no dub step beats emanating through the black papered walls of night clubs, guarded closely by muscled doormen. It’s possible that some Squamish folk choose to live in Squamish specifically to avoid said situations, seeking a lifestyle that delicately balances the need for that 5pm adrenaline rush on the mountain bike trails with the calm serenity provided by living in and among rivers, mountains, and forests.

If you walk down Cleveland Ave at 10am on a sunny weekday, you are likely to observe a plethora of small earthy children accompanied by what locals dub as “Squamish Moms” – extremely fit moms who look like they are 10 years younger than their actual age. At first glance, your impression of these moms might assume they eat only locally grown produce, support their neighbourhood acupuncturist, and love their children to death. Yes, Squamish folk alike live a very holistic, calm and peaceful lifestyle, yet late in the evening after the children are tucked away and the babysitters are called in, a secret society forms. Deep within the depths of the Brennan Park Arena, an angry beast is brooding, waiting to become unleashed. Squamish Moms call it… Saturday night Roller Derby.

The Squamish Women's Roller Derby Association presents the Sea to Sky Sirens
The Squamish Women’s Roller Derby Association presents the Sea to Sky Sirens – photo from squamishrollerderby.ca

The Squamish Women’s Roller Derby Association was established in 2010 and has just completed its 4th season as the Sea to Sky Sirens. I was fortunate enough to attend the final game of the season last weekend, and watched as the Sirens “end[ed] their season with a sweet victory,” as the Squamish Chief describes. The Sirens defeated Whistler’s Black Diamond Betties 178-145 in an exciting and ferocious battle. I was amazed to see the turnout for the game. The crowd was bustling, the beer garden flowing – the Sirens even have their own line of swag. Next time you’re in Squamish on a Saturday night and the streets seem unusually desolate, be sure to swing by Brennan Park, because chances are there will be a Roller Derby game going on!

Sea to Sky Sirens took on the Whistler Black Diamond Betties in their final game of the season on July 5th
Sea to Sky Sirens took on the Whistler Black Diamond Betties in their final game of the season on July 5th

If you aren’t too savvy about the official Roller Derby Rules, here is a quick breakdown: Players race around a short track on quad style roller skates. Each team has one “Jammer” who can score points for their team by racing the other “Jammer” around the track and passing players known as “Blockers” on the opposing team. The “Jammer” receives one point for every opposing “Blocker” they pass. The opposing teams “Blockers” act as human obstacles and attempt to block the “Jammers” from passing by on the track. This is a full body contact sport, so as you can imagine, things get pretty physical. Players wear helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist pads to protect themselves during the play. A full roller derby game consists of two 30 minute halves.

Roller Derby Breakdown, adopted from squamishrollerderby.ca
Roller Derby Breakdown, adopted from squamishrollerderby.ca

To be clear, I’m using rhetorical sarcasm by making you believe that all Roller Derby women are “Squamish Moms” – I’m sure this is not the case for EVERYONE, although I’m willing to bet many of them are (everyone knows there are plenty of tough, adventurous moms in Squamish). I know for a fact, however, that we have a small group of Quest students who have participated in the Squamish Roller Derby Association in the past, so if you are a Roller Derby fanatic and would like to get involved in the action, you better dust off those old roller skates, find your little brother, and start practicing your blocking over the summer. The Sirens host open night sessions to recruit new players to the team, with the next session on Monday, July 14th at 7pm at Brennan Park. You can contact recruitment@squamishrollerderby.ca or info@squamishrollerderby.ca for more information about how to try out for the team next Fall. Be sure to check out the Sirens’ website at www.squamishrollerderby.ca to learn more about the team!

Roller Derby, getting physical
Roller Derby, getting physical – photo from squamishrollerderby.ca
Sea to Sky Sires - photo from squamishrollerderby.ca
Sea to Sky Sirens – photo from squamishrollerderby.ca

 

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