Jamming it up

Local women finding place in roller derby

Published on January 6, 2013

Terra Densmore, of Valley, left, and Truro's Rachel Hill are co-captain and captain, respectively, of the Dead Ringers, one of two home teams with the Halifax Roller Derby Association. The women have just finished their first season in the sport and are hoping to spread the derby love around. 

Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News

TRURO – Looking at Rachel Hill and Terra Densmore, you wouldn’t think they’d be captain and co-captain of the Dead Ringers. But they are.

The Dead Ringers just finished its first full season as one of the home teams with the Halifax Roller Derby Association.

“The allure at first was that it looked and sounded really cool and fun,” said Densmore, 30, of Valley, who saw on Facebook just over two years ago about a meeting to start the league.

“I had heard about it years before and thought it was something fun to do, and then I sort of forgot about it,” she added, noting she looked into it again when she found out about the meeting.

So Densmore went to that meeting and hasn’t looked back.

“It sort of takes over your whole life,” she said.

Two months later, she brought 27-year-old Hill into the mix.

“We’re two of about a handful of original crew members left,” said Truro’s Hill.

In roller derby, game play consists of matchups, or jams, of two minutes in length. There are five members of each team (two teams) and both teams have designated scoring players, or jammers.

“The jammers have to get through all the blockers legally,” said Hill, explaining that whoever makes it through once first, takes the lead and can strategize for the rest of the jam.

“When you’re on the jam-line at the start, you really hope you don’t vomit, fall or get rubbed out by one of the other girls,” said Hill. “You’re on auto-pilot when you’re out there. There’s a lot going on.

“Your goal is to stay up while fighting with yourself and five others.”

While the two girls played all five home and three away games this past season, they’re also a part of the association board. Hill is the president, with Densmore the treasurer.

“It can take over your derby life,” said Densmore. “By being in the association, you sometimes forget about having your skates on and how awesome it is, but as soon as you put your skates on, you remember why you’re doing it.”

The team practices twice a week during the on season, using the arena in Shannon Park the majority of the time.

They travel into New Brunswick to compete against teams in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton, and may start competitions with Prince Edward Island this season.

“New Glasgow and the (Annapolis) Valley are two sprouting leagues in Nova Scotia,” Densmore added.

With body contact a big part of the sport, the two women have seen teammates injured, however they haven’t had anything major yet.

“At the beginning, a lot of people think roller derby looks simple and that it’s easy,” said Hill. “But the biggest factor is that your job is to put people on the floor, so it can lead to a lot of injury that a lot of people aren’t ready for.”

As roller derby grows, not only in the province but around the world, Hill and Densmore are hoping more local interest will pop up, and they’re willing to spend time with any women who may have an interest.

“Even if someone doesn’t want to make that commitment to going to Halifax, we can help them out here with the teaching basics,” said Hill, who is a part of the coaching staff with the association.

“We’d love to start a junior league, without any contact,” added Densmore.

Anyone wanting more information can email halifaxrollerderby@gmail.com, or visit www.halifaxrollerderby.ca.