There have been a handful of times in my life when I have felt the overwhelming force of pride rush through me and warm me to my core – at the birth of our daughter, the first time I landed a double Lutz in figure skating after working on it for nearly a year, the day I received an MVP award for varsity volleyball, the day I graduated from University with my Degree in Chemistry, the day the senior team I coached for two seasons in volleyball won their AAA division final, the day I saw my niece perform at a gymnastics meet for the very first time, the day we held our first official home derby bout after months and months of busting our asses to make it happen, the day I coached some of the ladies I’d also coached as Fresh Meat in their very first bout, and yesterday, when I watched the final bout of the Blood & Thunder World Cup of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby between our very own Team Canada and Team USA.
Both teams had a 4-0 record heading into the final game of the tournament, but despite this remarkable statistic, USA derby has been around a lot longer than derby anywhere else and those ladies have their skills, strategies and everything else derby so dialed in that facing them, at this point in the game, is like a Junior hockey team facing off against a team of NHL All stars – both teams have mad skills, but in the scheme of things, it`s truly no contest…not yet anyway!
In a nutshell, despite being the underdogs by an overwhelming margin and going up against skaters who are practically pros in the derby world, Team Canada didn’t let that deter them in their quest to make Team USA and, well, the world, sit up and take notice. They skated their asses off. When Luludemon picked up Canada’s first five points on a board that already sported 94 points for Team USA, the entire venue thundered with applause and went crazy. In fact, each time Team Canada put up any of its 33 points for the bout, the place erupted.
Why, you ask, would fans be so excited when our team scores, even though the margin between points is still so overwhelming? Well, firstly, our skaters put more points up on the board than all the other four teams who played Team USA managed to put up (combined). And secondly, our ladies used every bit of their mad skills, their extreme athleticism and a truckload of HEART to play against Team USA. They never gave up, never got down, kept their heads and their cool, and kept smiling the entire time.
How many sports do you know of where a team can take a shitkicking and keep standing tall, smiling, hugging and high-fiving the winning team when the game ends? How about a sport where a team can do all that and also celebrate the fact that they took second place? This is Roller Derby.
As I sat there, watching the final game, wincing as our ladies took some incredibly hard hits, cheering as they fought so hard for each point, feeling my heart race as I watched the kick ass skaters whom I’ve skated with, look up to, learn from and respect, the familiar surge of the warmth of pride flowed through me once again and I sat there in awe and gratitude that I am able to play such an incredibly empowering sport made up of such incredibly empowering people.
Holy shitsnacks, Team Canada! That was EPIC! I can’t wait for the next World Cup!
Here are a few of our skaters from Western Canada. I took these at one of our Derby Boot Camps last year when a shoulder injury prevented me from joining in the scrimmage fun!
Have a great Monday everyone! I wish you all enough…