Roller Derby has made a big comeback in Ontario and is moving from the underground to the mainstream as it gains popularity. Over the past 10 years Roller Derby has made a resurgence and has rapidly been growing in popularity across Canada and the World. There are hundreds of Canadian teams, and several thousand players.
If names like “Skinny Mini Miller” or “Sweet Stephanie” ring a bell, you’re familiar with the Roller Derby of yesteryear. Like “professional wrestling,” matches were scripted for television audiences for maximum entertainment value, but that’s not the case these days.
Although Cambridge doesn’t have its own league, The Royal City Roller Girls in Guelph boast a number of Cambridge players.
Crystal Jarvis is one of them. A personal support worker by day, at night she transforms into her rink persona, “Sum Saucy,” and joins her sisters, who are shopkeepers, teachers, even a doctor, on the circular battleground.
With rink names like “Blonde Ambitchin,” “Stitch Ripper,” and “Clare de Lunatic” you know these ladies aren’t into figure skating.
The Royal City Roller Girls have four teams, Killer Queens, Our Ladies of Pain, Violet Uprising and The Brute Leggers.
Jarvis, er “Saucy,” became interested after attending a match last October. She went for a “fresh meat” tryout, and fell in love with the game.
Unlike its theatrical predecessor, “This is real”, Saucy tells me. “It’s hard work.” They currently practice twice a week at several high schools in Guelph, and an outdoor rink in Freelton, and would do it more often but “There isn’t anywhere in Cambridge to practice.”
Although she’s never been seriously injured, Saucy has had her share of bumps and bruises. “It’s just part of the game,” she smiles, “I love it.”
Tamara Lewis, a.k.a. “Laloba Lewis,” wasn’t so lucky. (La Loba is Spanish for “She Wolf”) One of the original RCRGs, she suffered a concussion in her first tournament. “It’s all part of the game,” she says. Lewis is currently taking some time of to look after her new business, Laboda Vitage in Hespeler. “I named my business after my rink name,” She smiles. “but I’ll be back…”
All of the local matches are broadcast on Roger’s Television.