Hold onto your popcorn, theatre-lovers. In 2020, Canberra Theatre Centre is bringing a blockbuster season…
Round one of the Canberra Roller Derby League (CRDL) 2015 season saw the Red Bellied Black Hearts take revenge over 2014 champions The Surly Griffins, winning 208 to 99. The score didn’t reflect what was a tough battle that had the crowd on the edge of their seats right until the very end.
In round two, the Black n Blue Belles will tackle the Brindabelters. Their captains shared their thoughts on roller derby, their teammates and the 2015 season. Meet Black ‘n’ Blue Belles Co-captain and Jammer Mae-Q-Sqwheel (aka Celeste Trione); Brindabelters Captain and Blocker Stone Jett (aka Margarita Haruspex); Brindabelters Vice Captain, Blocker and Jammer (CBR rep for Vice City Rollers), Berry Bad (aka Amber Hutchison); and Black n’ Blue Belles Co-Captain, Blocker and Jammer Rubi Doom (aka Tea Karacic).
Why did you join the Canberra Roller Derby League?
Mae-Q-Sqwheel: I went along to a bout in 2010 to support my hubby who was commentating. When I saw the game, I fell in love. It combined theatrics, toughness, strategy, glamour, girl-power and contact into an enthralling sport that I couldn’t get out of my head. Roller Derby means fun, friendship, self-confidence and acceptance. It gives me a place to immerse myself in and push myself to my limits.
I really love the diversity of derby and that there’s no perfect shape or size. That the size of your booty doesn’t determine your effectiveness, and the most unassuming people can be amazing on the track. I love that I can click with another skater out on the track to pull off some cool moves, and push myself to get better and better each session. It’s great that everyone has their own ways of being effective and that we all have something we can teach each other. Roller derby makes fitness fun and rewarding, and keeps me coming back for more.
Stone Jett: I started skating for Sydney Roller Derby League and after one season bouting with them I moved to Canberra for work. Having a great derby league in Canberra was definitely one of the selling points in deciding to make the move. This is my 4th year skating for CRDL.
Roller derby is much more than just a fantastic athletic contact sport – it’s a community and, for me, being a roller derby player is a big part of my identity.
The minute I saw a photograph of a roller derby player from the US, I decided I had to play this sport. This was a couple of years before derby had made it to Australia. So when I finally heard about leagues starting up here, I joined up straight away, without even having seen a game or having any idea of what was involved. Now my passion comes from the athleticism and adrenaline of playing this amazing fast paced sport. No one understands how addictive this sport is until they start to play it themselves.
Berry Bad: I saw a Canberra Roller Derby League take on Sun State Roller Girls, CRDL lost with epic proportions but I was so infatuated with the sport and the league; I had to join!!!! I have been skating for CRDL since 2012. The movie Whip it was also an inspiration for me!
[Roller derby is] a pretty important part of my life! Not only because I spend a lot of time training, playing and thinking about derby but because I’ve met so many amazing people, it a fantastic culture. I love the athleticism and I’ve always been into skating… [the movie] Xanadu is one of my favourites.
Rubi Doom: After skating for a couple of years, I realised that I wanted to expand my derby horizons, challenge my self, and grow as an athlete. Roller derby, to me, is a safe space where I can develop personally and athletically while being surrounded by a community of like-minded, strong women.
I just strapped on a pair of skates and fell in love. I think the sport just really spoke to me; a little out of the ordinary, and run by, and for, women who support each other. Having previously mostly played sports with guys, it was just such a shift in dynamic to not be asked who’s girlfriend I am when I turn up to training/a meet/event.
What’s your favourite position?
Mae-Q-Sqwheel: [My favourite position is] jammer, because there’s nothing quite like bursting out of the pack or evading the last blocker chasing you! It’s hard and great at the same time, because you’re the only one in that position for your team on the track, and there’s a target on your helmet! There are nine other skaters in the jam, but you’re really competing against yourself to not give up, to stay up, to push harder.
Stone Jett: I’m a blocker and my favourite role is defence. I love working with teammates in a pack to shut down that jammer. My favourite blocking move is caboosing off the back of my fellow teamies.
Berry Bad: I enjoy blocking and jamming. They are both very different positions but the satisfaction from playing either is the same for me – when you do your position well and you work with your teammates to achieve a common goal, the feeling is so rewarding.
Rubi Doom: [My favourite position is] blocking, without a doubt. Sometimes you have this perfect game when you’re totally in tune with your fellow blockers, and the strength and power just kind of flows between all of us. In the moment, it seems so effortless, but the minute you hit the bench you realise just how hard you’ve worked to make that jammer’s life hell.
What are your teammates like?
Mae-Q-Sqwheel: We’ve got an age range of about 20 to 40 years [on the Black n Blue Belles team], with the average being late-20s. We have some of the youngest bouting skaters in the league but they are also amongst the most experienced! We’ve got Belles in their fifth season as bouting skaters, but most current Belles are around four seasons in. We’re also very lucky to have many Belles with experience on our representative team, the Vice City Rollers. I’m really looking forward to welcoming some new skaters to the Belles this season, having some fun with the team and being a competitive side.
Berry Bad: We have a diverse team, from many backgrounds and ages. Skaters can age from early 20s to there mid to late 40s – that what is so terrific about this sport, any age will do as long as you are fit enough to play. All skaters on the Belters have been skating for at least three years, we have numerous skaters that also belong to the travel team, we have a very skilled group!!
Of course I don’t want to give too much away but we have been working on our pack work this year, we want to be strong and forceful! [I hope we will] make it into the finals, playing well as a team. [The Black n Blue Belles] are really hopeful that we’ll be able to incorporate all the new skaters really well, and give them a great, and productive start to their derby careers.
How did you come up with your derby name, what does it mean?
Mae-Q-Sqwheel: There’s nothing too much behind my derby name, other than the fact that it’s fun to say! I’m a really big Red Dwarf fan though, and my number (359) comes from the red dwarf star called Wolf 359.
Stone Jett: Stone Jett is a play on Joan Jett, who is one of my all time favourite rock ‘n’ roll musicians, as well as being a pioneering role model for strong women in rock.
Berry Bad: A roller derby name is meant to signify who you are, it’s a piece of you. I knew I needed a cheeky name that was related to food, as I love food and I’m a dietitian. The name itself is a play on words – from ‘very bad’. My number 88, is two fat ladies, or crazy 88 from the movie Kill Bill.
Rubi Doom: My name is heavily inspired by the cartoon character Ruby Gloom, The Happiest Girl in The World. She’s a little goth girl, with red hair, and a black cat called Doom Kitty.
What are your hopes for your team this year?
Stone Jett: As every year – Belters world domination! We have a good solid core of Belters that have been with the team for a number of years now, and this year we have been working on building our team work and communication even stronger. We are also looking forward to having new fresh meat drafted to the team later in the year, and will then work on integrating/initiating our new Belters into the mountain girl pack.
Where does your passion for roller derby come from?
Berry Bad: I’m not 100% sure. When I put my mind to something I do it! I find that with roller derby, there is never a top skill level that you can be… therefore you are always learning new skills, training harder, going to the gym more and playing your heart out. A little competition to out-skill or out-manoeuvre your teammates or your opposition never goes astray either!
So now that you know a few of the CRDL team, come and enjoy a night of highly skilled, competitive skating in a family-friendly environment. Support your favourite team by wearing blue for the Belles or purple for the Belters.
No need to worry if you don’t know the rules of the game. The skaters demonstrate how they score points in slow motion at the start of the bout, and the commentators explain everything else as the action unfolds. You can also get the basics on the CRDL website.
What: Canberra Roller Derby League bout 2
When: Saturday May 16, doors open at 5pm for 6pm start
Where: Southern Cross Stadium, Cnr Cowlishaw St & Athllon Drive, Tuggeranong
How much: $12 adults, $7.50 child (5-15 years), kids under 5 free, $30 family (2 adults, 2 kids) through Moshtix
Photos by Steven Craddock.