Zombies on roller skates swept in and butchered the competition at the Ted Reeve Bubble last week during the GTA Rollergirls’ closing match of 2013.
Dubbed ‘Nightmare on Main Street,’ the Sept. 7 double-header pitted the two GTAR teams against Windsor’s Border City Brawlers with a few special guests – undead skaters and fans promoting the upcoming Toronto Zombie Walk.
Despite the hungry brain eaters watching trackside, coach Kirk Narayansingh said no young bloods should be scared to join the GTA Rollergirls for the next May to September season.
“You can’t be afraid of derby,” he said. “You’ve got to own it.”
For new skaters, that means training over the summer until they pass the league’s toughest skills test – skating 25 laps in five minutes.
Just eight of the 40 girls who came to the GTA Rollergirls’ “fresh meat” nights last year survived into the regular season. Narayansingh said pulling that off is as much about showing pure grit as it is stamina or steady skating.
“Derby will part the ways for you if you do that. It really is all about attitude.”
‘Jill Feral,’ who often plays pivot on the G-sTARs traveling team, agrees.
“What a lot people don’t know is that a lot of our freshies have never put skates on,” she said, adding that new skaters can find their feet at Skooters Roller Palace in Mississauga or by getting some outdoor wheels and practicing on neighbourhood streets.
Feral joined GTAR in 2010. After a year of training, she has had three more competing with the G-sTARs across Toronto, southern Ontario and New York State.
“Don’t be afraid to just jump in and make some mistakes,” she said.
As a non-profit, the GTA Rollergirls also give a big welcome to community groups. This year, they hosted CPR demos by the Heart & Stroke Foundation, a Pride Toronto event, even a booth full of live turtles saved by Toronto’s Little Res Q.
“We always said that the goal was a not-for-profit model – for the skaters, by the skaters, and with community outreach,” said Narayansingh, whose wife Cynthia Brooks (‘Splat Benatar’) founded the league in 2007.