Local roller girl goes global 0
Kayla Wilkins, or Brim Stone, as she is also known, is ready to lay the smack down on some international roller derby competitors.
Wilkins, the woman behind the local roller derby league, has been named to the first-ever Canadian roller derby team, which will take part in the first-ever international roller derby cup in Toronto in December.
"They put a call out to see what countries would submit a team," Wilkins said, explaining there'd been three tryouts held across Canada. "It was extremely gruelling. We had to start the day really early and do a fitness test."
This fitness test was the same one undertaken by police officers and members of the military and included a series of push-ups and sit-ups, an agility test and a beep test.
In the beep test, participants had to sprint back and forth between two points before a beep was sounded, with less and less time passing between the beeps.
"Then, when your legs felt completely like Jello, you had to scrimmage and play roller derby," Wilkins said.
She passed the test, becoming one of 20 girls chosen for the team.
Wilkins, who first strapped on some roller skates in 2006 and plays for competitive teams the Gore-Gore Girls and CN Power, said she's unsure yet what position she will be playing and thought the girls chosen were picked at least partially for their ability to play different positions.
There are three positions in roller derby - blockers, jammers and pivots.
A goal is scored when a team's jammer skates past the blockers of the opposing team.
The job of the pivot, or head blocker, the position Wilkins normally plays, is to keep the pack together.
"We're not going to get a whole lot of practice because Canada's so huge," she said, explaining the only team practices before the actual event will be a gatherings of the players from the western and eastern halves of the country.
Roller derby's origins are in the roller skate races of 1920s America and the sport grew in popularity until its zenith and then near extinction in the 1970s.
In recent years, it has experienced a comeback and Wilkins thinks the upcoming international event is a sign the game's popularity is growing on a global scale.
"I believe there's a big push right now to make roller derby an Olympic sport," she said.
There are 16 countries participating, including teams from as far away as Brazil, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.
Given that the sport's roots are American, Wilkins expects the U.S. to come out strong.
"The roster looks extremely frightening," she said. "I think this year, there's probably going to be a big skill gap."
The event, to take place Dec. 2 to 4 in Toronto, is being hosted by American roller derby magazine Blood &Thunder.
For more information, visit http://bloodandthundermag.com/WorldCup2011.htm.