Wasatch Junior Roller derby is made up of some of the most dedicated young men and women I have ever seen. The Junior Rollers are taught by some of the top players in Utah Roller Derby. The amount of skill and technique these players have rivals that of the competitive teams on WRD. I was amazed to see how well the Junior Rollers knew the rules, and were able to do things that I hardly can grasp when playing recreational derby. These are the coolest kids I know. They give their time and energy to play this amazing sport, only to have few people come cheer them on when the bout begins. WJRD needs your support. Come watch some of the most talented and athletic kids in the valley bravely duke it out!
This Saturday, the Wasatch Junior Rollers hosted a game at the Derby Depot between their two teams. The Wasatch Junior Rollers are a co-ed team, which includes the Mighty Minions, who play the first 10 minutes of the game. The Mighty Minions are some of the hardest kids I’ve ever seen. The ages range from 6–12 years old. Some of the Minions also play with the older and more skilled kids after the first 10 minutes. The younger players must go through a skill test before being allowed to play with the older kids. The players are usually 13–18 on the older team, Minion Terror, but teams are also based on skill level. Many younger skaters, like the fierce Tiger Lily, are able to play with the older kids because of their skills.
Roller Derby is an intense sport, not just because it is a contact sport on skates, but also because there are Refs constantly yelling to tell you if you have a penalty. Many times when I have been called on a penalty, I felt as though the refs were upset with me (which is totally untrue, the refs just have to yell because no one can ever hear anything). It was inspiring to see the amount of heart and courage these kids have when playing the game. They fall, get called out by refs, hit by opponents and still have the gusto to get back up and keep playing.
The first 10 minutes of the game I was able to see the younger kids in action. The first jam of the Mighty Minions game was led by Blonde Bomber, playing for the white team. She scored ten points in a power jam before she was called out on a back block. Killer Kitty, another fearless player on the white team, had the highest scoring jam, scoring 20 points. Another one of the players, Lilo and Stiches (the daughter of Busty Buxom of WRD) is an up-and-coming force in Junior roller derby. These kids will be the future of competitive roller derby.
After the first 10 minutes, the kids were able to play full-contact roller derby. For the first half of the game, the white team dominated. Jack N’ Sally, playing for the white team, was able to skate backwards while blocking the blue team’s defense. This allowed Golden Child, also on the white team, to find a hole in the blockers and break through with ease. The amount of technique these skaters have blew my mind. Golden Child got a power jam, because the opposing jammer Rink Rasher was called out on a back block. Golden Child had the highest scoring jam of the first half, racking in 29 points for her team in jam 11. During Golden Child’s power jam, she was able to put the white team back in the lead with a score of 101 (white) to 86 (blue) at half time. Rink Rasher had a hard time getting through the tough defense of the white team. The white team was able to break up the blue blockers and create small holes for Golden Child to slice through the pack and score.
During halftime, skaters laid down on the track while other skaters practiced jumping over them. It was great fun to see the skaters dance and do tricks during the break.
The game intensified in the second half, with the lead oscillating back and forth between white and blue. The second half started in a power jam, with Skatey Styles (blue) scoring the first few points for her team. In jam 5, ferocious Killer Kitty was able to get lead jammer and score points in a power jam. Rink Rasher (blue) tried to bend down very low to block Killer Kitty. It was fun to see how some of the taller players had to compensate for their height so they could hit the shorter players in the legal zones of engagement without getting a high block. In jam 7, Kitty Scare You All was able to get lead jammer by jumping the apex, catching about 3 feet of air. She fell but successfully made it over the apex, only to get hit hard by an opposing blocker. Near the last half of the game, Jaw Breaker helped the blue team get back on the board, scoring a 30 points in the 12th jam. Jaw Breaker’s jamming style was intriguing to watch. He would boomerang off of blockers, just like rubber, absorbing the hits and propelling himself forward. He was able to duck through the defense and glide easily through the pack. Jam after jam, Jaw Breaker was able to consistently get lead jammer by breaking the pack in seconds. In jam 20, Paris Killton, the pivot for the white team, got a star pass and was able to juke to the outside of the track and avoid the blockers. Although the white team fought hard and had the lead in the first half, team Blue won with a victory of 302- 207.
After the bout, I was able to interview some of the players from both teams. Jaw Breaker (13 years old) told me that roller derby, “is great to get your aggression and anger out; it helps you feel better”. This type of sport is so helpful to kids in their younger years. If I had found derby at a younger age, it would have kept me out of a lot of trouble. Paris Killton (14 years old) believes that, “derby gives you a lot of support in your life.” The amount of camaraderie is a great support for the younger kids. There is no bullying in roller derby. Wasatch Junior Rollers creates a fun, safe and healthy environment for kids to get out their aggression, emotions and problems. If your kid is interested in joining WJRD, please like the Wasatch Junior Roller Derby team’s Facebook page and message them on Facebook. You can also e-mail them at wasatchjuniorrollers@gmail.com