Friday, 21 December 2012 16:01

Former Swift Current resident rolls back from Lethbridge to join Redneck Betties

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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Desiree Unvoas (middle in red) rolled with Lethbridge last year, here vs. Swift Current. Desiree Unvoas (middle in red) rolled with Lethbridge last year, here vs. Swift Current.

Swift Current’s Redneck Betties will be back to regular practices in January and the team will welcome a new face.
After moving back to her hometown of Swift Current, Deathbridge’s Desiree Unvoas (or ‘Betty Believit’) will be joining the Betties for the season.


Unvoas has always maintained an interest in skating. As a child, she was involved with figure skating, and enjoyed roller blading as a hobby for many years. When her friend showed an interest in joining Lethbridge’s new roller derby team, Unvoas accompanied her to a practice.
“It seemed like fun, so I thought I should give it a try,” she admitted. “I ordered a pair of skates off eBay, started skating right away, and I just couldn’t stop after that.”
While Unvoas would have never considered herself an athlete growing up, she enjoys the fitness aspect of participating in roller derby. But it’s the derby family that makes the sport so important for her.
“We all look after each other — we are like sisters,” Unvoas said. “There are no other sports like this. You can go anywhere in the world and find a derby team, and they’ll accept you. That’s so nice, because even though I was on a team who played against the Betties, they were so excited to invite me to the team.”
Unvoas is pleased to be accepted into her new derby family, but noted she does still struggle with leaving the girls who helped her learn the sport in the first place. She is looking forward to attending her first practice with the Betties, to see what her new team is all about.
“It’s really been different for me, because you create such a strong bond with your derby family, but the Betties have just been so awesome, even before I moved back,” she added. “We haven’t started training officially as a team yet, but they’ve been really great and I know their training is a lot more intense than what I’m used to. But I’m looking forward to the new challenge, and I hope that I can keep up.”
When Unvoas first started playing, she focused mainly on just going to practice twice a week, but soon wanted to get better and stronger. Derby became more of a lifestyle for her, and she started concentrating a bit more on her fitness.
“I skate a lot, not just roller skating, I also ice skate a few times a week,” noted Unvoas. “I also run stairs in the morning to keep my cardio and strength up. Other girls have their own passion outside of derby, but I’ve pretty much just stuck with skating.”
Maintaining her strength is a priority for Unvoas, who admitted that she does worry about injuries. Safety is her number one concern, because she explained that anything can happen to anyone, anytime.
“It’s best to just be strong and have the right equipment,” she said. “I’ve seen so many broken legs and stuff, and it does scare me. But the stronger you are, and the more trained you are, the better prepares and less likely you are to get an injury. Last year, I got a concussion and a fractured kneecap, and both times it was simply because I didn’t have good enough equipment.”
She added because of old-style roller derby, which was more about entertainment than sport, there are still plenty of misconceptions. However, as the sport becomes more popular, she is confident that those fallacies will be corrected.
“People say to me stuff like ‘oh, you’re just out there throwing elbows’, but that’s really not what we are doing,” Unvoas explained. “We have rule sets and referees, but everything is organized and managed by the players for the players. We try to keep a good balance of entertainment and sport, because we are definitely out there to have fun. We definitely try to win on the track, but we hug it out after the game. We are tough, but we play fair.”
At the end of last season, many of her teammates from Deathbridge also moved on to other teams. Unvoas has already competed against one of her former teammates when she guest-skated at a bout in Saskatoon.
“It’s a bit strange, but when you get out there you just see blue and black and hit it hard,” she said. “I’ll know the players strengths a bit better, though, so I can tell my teammates what to watch for. I want to make sure I can bring something to the team, because they are so strong. I am looking forward to finding my niché here.”

Read 2215 times Last modified on Friday, 21 December 2012 16:10

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