Thursday, 26 January 2012 11:39

Youngsters rolling on down to be part of the Swift Current junior roller derby program

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Young girls looking for a more alternative option to traditional athletic pursuits are welcome to come out for information sessions with the Redneck Betties on Tuesday evenings at the Rec Centre in Swift Current.

“The girls can come out and do a free skate with gear and everything supplied, so they can see if it’s something that they like or want to join,” explained Michelle Button, a member of the Redneck Betties and one of the organizers of the informational junior sessions.

“It’s a great way to let them try it out beforehand before committing to the team.”

The first session brought in 13 potential roller derby athletes, but due to inclement weather, many were unable to attend. Button is hopeful that the next session will bring more new faces.

“We still did have a few girls come in from out of town to try it out, from Gull Lake and from Webb,” she said. “We are hoping for the same number of kids, because I know that some that came last time probably won’t be back.”

Button’s daughter is participating in the junior team, as is the daughter of another member of the Betties, but Button has noticed other mothers are not as keen to let their girls play roller derby.

“If their parents don’t allow it, they don’t get much of a choice — even some of the girls who really enjoyed it and had a great time,” admitted Button. “That’s how it rolls.”

The program is designed to help young girls, to work with them at developing confidence and leadership skills through sport, as well as developing their athletic abilities — both fine tuning or discovering and developing new skills.

“Being in the sport myself, I know that you can gain confidence and feel healthy, and it’s great to work with your peers to maintain a positive environment,” Button noted. “We are big into sisterhood, and we are really trying to instill that into the younger girls. At this age, they are dealing with all kinds of peer pressure and bullying and stuff, and we want to get them doing something healthy instead of getting into trouble because they are bored.”

The program lasts for six weeks, training the girls so that they can pass both a skills test and a written test.

For Junior Roller Derby, there are three levels of training that need to be passed before the team can compete.

“There are junior teams in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Regina,” said Button. “They compete against each other, and we are hoping to work with them, also. It all depends on how things work out. We are hoping that if we can get a roster of 14 girls to be on the team, we might be able to get a game set up by the end of the year.”

The Redneck Betties will also compete again soon, with their first home bout scheduled for April 14 at the iplex. They are hoping to have four or five bouts in Swift Current this season, and are looking forward to getting some new faces out on the track with the team.

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