Special to the Record
Derby women from all over Vancouver Island and Powell River descended on Cumberland Oct. 16 for the first Brick House Betties open scrimmage.
Team members from Victoria’s Belles of the Brawl, West Coast Style, Margarita Villians, Nanaimo’s Harbour City Rollers and Nanaimo Nemesis, Comox Valley’s Rink Minx, Powell River’s Pow Town and Cumberland’s Brick House Betties were all represented.
A scrimmage brings skaters together from different teams with a range of skating abilities to form two teams. This allows an opportunity to learn from each other, put previously learned skills and strategies to the test, as well as build camaraderie and relationships among teams.
Thus it is quite different from a bout, which is a competitive game between two teams.This was the first in a series of scrimmages planned by the Brickhouse Betties, along with derby referee Booker Bennett (Book’er) and head non-skating official (NSO) Katie Sharp (Plenty O’fficial).
When the call to join a Vancouver Island scrimmage was sent out the response was overwhelming. “There were 40 spots, and half were filled in the first week,” said Sharp. “As word spread we quickly realized this was going to be kind of a big deal. Book’er had to close the sign-up sheet or we would have gone over capacity. Seasoned veterans to first-timers, they’re all hungry for the chance to practise and meet each other,” said Sharp.
“The event was a huge success. The Cumberland Recreation Institute was buzzing with excitement and positivity,” added Brickhouse Betties representative Twyla MacDonald (Ruby Whipper).
“We had two goals: to have fun, and to kick the level of Island derby up a notch or two. There were definitely some great moments of athleticism and teamwork on the track, and when the last whistle blew we were surrounded by a crush of grinning women, shaking our hands, throwing their sweaty arms around us to say thank you. Immediately we were asked when the next one was, and the planning got underway over beers at the Waverley,” said Sharp.
One benefit of these scrimmages is they allow officials to train. Bouts and scrimmages require up to seven referees whose primary job is to maintain the safety of the skaters through issuing penalties, and 12 to 14 non-skating officials who are responsible for documenting points and penalties, running the penalty box and timing the game. Without these volunteer officials there would be no opportunity for skaters to play the sport they love.
The Brickhouse Betties practise three times per week and welcome anyone who is interested in the game of derby, whether it is to play the game or become an official. For more information visit http://www.brickhousebetties.com/.