Sunday, July 23, 2017

Victoria roller-derby league Eves of Destruction not for the faint-hearted

August 10, 2016 by Adam Marsh, student editor

Roller derby is a physically intense sport, and those involved in Victoria’s Eves of Destruction roller-derby league know all too well the physical toll it can inflict on its players.

Skye Dumond, whose team name is reGretel, sits on the league’s board of directors; she coaches the Rotten Apples and currently plays for the Belles of the Brawl and the Hard Cores (the three are three of the five teams that make up the league). Dumond says that roller derby is very physical, and many of her close friends have broken bones on the track.

“There are a lot of ways you can legally make contact with opposing players, and we use that to our advantage,” say Dumond. “It’s a full-contact sport.”

Roller derby is a rough-and-tumble sport, and Victoria’s Eves of Destruction know it (photo by Amus Productions).

Roller derby is a rough-and-tumble sport, and Victoria’s Eves of Destruction know it (photo by Amus Productions).

Dumond says that although she has never broken any bones herself, bruises are common, and she says with a chuckle that she’s “sitting on one right now” as we talk. She says she enjoys the “camaraderie of the team” and the offbeat demographic of the Eves of Destruction.

“It’s really the only thing of its kind out there,” she says of roller derby. “It draws women that want to be involved in full-contact sports. It seems to attract an independent-minded person that is looking to challenge themselves physically.”

Dumond says that roller derby is not just for women; there is a men’s roller-derby association and a co-ed league. The Eves Of Destruction “happens to be a women’s league,” she says.

“We have a gender policy in place that says that if women’s roller derby is the version of roller derby with which you most most closely identify, then you are welcome. We’re not going to ask for any gender verification.”

Dumond says the junior team, consisting of kids between the ages of 10 and 18, is gender inclusive. She coaches the junior team and says that coaching and playing are “different sides of the same coin.”

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of coaching the juniors and seeing them improve, seeing them come out of their shell, seeing them learn how to strategize on the track and work together, but I also really enjoy the physical challenge of playing myself,” she says.

Because Dumond’s number is zero, her team name is a play on “no regrets,” she says.

“It ends up being something we go by in most of our lives as time goes by,” she says. “The derby names are chosen by the individual.”

Pfury S Pfaff, also known as Shannon Pfaffenberger, plays for the Margarita Villains—one of the other teams in the league—and also trains people who are in the Raw Meat and Fresh Meat programs; those are the new players, many of whom have never been on roller skates before.

“I love coaching Raw Meat and Fresh Meat,” says Pfaffenberger, “because I get to introduce people to the sport.”

Pfaffenberger says that seeing people learn basic skating skills and then progress to become players is amazing, especially as they embrace the culture of roller derby.

“There are some people who have never put skates on until the day they come to Raw Meat,” she says. “So I get to see them go  from where they’re not very good on their skates and are really anxious about being on their skates, and then through the Raw Meat and Fresh Meat programs they become completely confident on skates and able to play the sport. I get to see them grow.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Shannon Pfaffenberger’s last name. We regret the mistake.

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