Saint John vs. Moncton—it’s been a long time a comin’!

Friday, May 27, 2011

So Ryder Wrong asked me to guest blog about the double-headerSaint John had against Moncton on Saturday, May 14th.  Being an ex-FCR member (I’ll be returning in the fall—yay!) I was happy to help a kindred spirit!
So where do I begin?  Ah yes—the venue.  The event was held atMoncton’s Red Ball Internet Centre in the Caroll Rink.  Having never been in the Centre before, this rink seemed like it was more of a practice rink since it did not have any seating. “No seating?”, you ask.  Yes, no seating.  Do you know who usually has the most fun at a derby bout?  Those individuals in the ‘suicide seating’[i] do—and this was like one large suicide seating section.  Seats?  We don’t need no stinking seats!  (Well, technically, I did so I brought my camping chair, but I digress…).
The Muddy River Rollers were top class in how they helped out at the door making sure everyone got pumped up for what they were about to watch and that the line-up was moving fast so that everyone could go in and claim their spot on the floor.
This was the very first intercity roller derby bout held in New Brunswick! This was exciting!  This was sold out!
My mother and I (affectionately known as “Derby Mom”) managed to get a great position between turns 1 and 2.  The atmosphere was super charged as you not only had family and friends of the Saint John and Moncton teams but you also had members of the Capital City Rollers from Fredericton, the Halifax Roller Derby Association and the PEI RollerGirls in the house to check out the competition (aka “reconnaissance”).

While we waited for the first whistle to be blown you could feel the crowd’s excitement as they waved their hand-made signs about how “my derby mom skates faster than yours”. People were asking each other about the rules, how the game is played and what do the “panties” mean.

Then the rivalry began—not on the track—on the floor and in the crowd.  I was (of course) wearing my FCR hoodie with my derby name and number on the back and “Razor Girls” emblazoned on the hood when a Moncton fan felt the need to pull my hood off my head.  This was his way of saying: “your team sucks and you shouldn’t even bother”.
Oh. No. He. Didn’t!
Oh yes he did—and it was awesome!  The whole evening you had fans against fans and that’s the way it should be.  The fans are what, ultimately, keeps derby alive.  If the stands are empty then derby dies so bring on the rivalry!
Being a double-header, this night had Moncton’s Daughters of Anarchy against Saint John’s Scarlet Swarm in the first bout andMoncton’s Lumbersmacks against Saint John’s Razor Girls in the second bout.
Although there was a lot of pomp from all four teams I know that there were also a lot of nerves rumbling in the bellies of these amazing women.  They’ve all fought really hard to get where they are today.  Months and months of practicing, months and months of questioning whether they could do this, months and months of learning their own individual strength.  Tonight was the night to prove to themselves that they’re all good enough and they all deserved to be there.
I think, for me, my favourite moments were seeing Saint John’s teams cheer each other on.  Saint John has already had 2 public bouts pitting the Razor Girls against Scarlet Swarm so that rivalry has already been built and it’s strong.  This night, however, was about the league being there for the league. Razor Girls were there in full force cheering on Scarlet Swarm and vice-versa.  In fact, when our very own Ryder Wrong suffered a skate malfunction while jamming, Scarlet Swarm did exactly that—they swarmed over to Ryder, found out what the problem was and immediately ran to her rescue and got her another pair of skates.  Fog City Rollers are an incredible bunch of women and, for the skaters, it’s not really about the teams—it’s about the league. This moment was proof of that.

In every game there’s a winner and a loser.  True, but derby is the only sport that adds an asterisk and a footnote to that. Both Scarlet Swarm and the Razor Girls lost their bouts that night but, in derby, even the losing teams feel like winners.  They get the same applause, the same victory skate around the track and the same recognition that the winning teams do.  That’s the best part about derby—this sport helps people really understand that there’s nothing wrong with being second best.

All in all, the evening was a great one!  Moncton played beautifully and Saint John came together to support each other like they hadn’t been able to do before.
For these girls, derby is a life not a lifestyle.  They put their all into this sport and they give up a lot to make sure it succeeds.
Moncton and Saint John meet up again this Saturday, May 28th, at the Lord Beaverbrook Rink in Saint John.  This is Saint John’s home-opener so be sure to support YOUR local roller derby league! Moncton sold out so we’re looking for a big Saint John showing!
For more information, search “Rock Out with a Knockout!” on Facebook or contact Fog City Rollers at fcrmmpr@gmail.com.
Roller derby is the fastest-growing sport in the WORLD right now—you’re not going to want to miss this action.
See you there! Look for me—I’ll be (of course) wearing my FCR hoodie.
Maria Von Smashburg #75, Razor Girl