Virden doesn’t have its own roller derby league, so last Saturday roller derby came to us -- thanks to our very own Terri Baker, also known by her stage name Terrilizer.
“Virden was chosen because I live here and I organize the home bouts.
"Lots of people have been trying to get me to bring derby here. Also we wanted to get more people interested in derby.”
Baker’s travel team – dubbed Scarlet Fever - from the Wheat City Roller Derby League in Brandon came to Virden to take on the Sugar Skulls from Regina. About 250 attended the bout (“an awesome turnout” says Baker) to cheer on their hometown hero and experience roller derby in Virden for the first time.
The ice was removed and a chalk oval was drawn on the concrete floor of the TOGP arena to mark the track. The referees and timekeeper policed the action from inside the oval as skaters moved around them, constantly trying to block and jostle rival players out of bounds.
The Regina team literally skated circles around Brandon during the two 30-minute periods played over the course of two hours. Regina’s nimble-footed jammer (whose job it is to get past opponents) danced around Brandon’s blockers (who try to stop her and help their own jammer get ahead).
Over and over, the Sugar Skulls’ jammer squeezed through and around Brandon’s blockade, scoring points for every skater she passed.
The final score was a lopsided 231-55 for Regina but nobody seemed to care. After all, it was roller derby. In Virden. On a Saturday night.
A Wheat City fan who’s been following the league for four of its nine years said the point spread isn’t usually so wide in this sport. It didn’t help that Scarlet Fever was dealt a setback early in the bout when referees ejected one of their stronger players for using an illegal move against a rival.
Unfortunately, that call caused a long delay in the action. Later, the game was stalled again when a toppled Brandon player sustained a minor injury.
But despite the delays, the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the novelty of roller derby in a place where hockey and figure skating are the norm.