Roller derby girls serious about game, work to be fit

The Penticton Pistoleras are ready to knock Kelowna Roller Derby off their game

Cassandra Capone remembers what it was like when roller derby started making a comeback in 2005.

It was viewed as an alternative sport with the ladies wearing fishnets.

“It was all about bad ass attitude,” said Capone. “In my experience, most of the people who are playing, are mothers, and nurses, and teachers, and we’re all very aggressive.

“At the same time, we’re not mean, we’re not out to hurt anybody,” she continued. “We don’t throw elbows.”

They are determined to change people’s mindset regarding the sport. Yes, they do believe it is a sport. And Capone, known as Ram Rod, a name given to her by a teammate when learning to hit, doesn’t wear fishnets.

“If you ever slide across a concrete floor on fishnets, on your side, you get the fishnet burn, you very quickly move to something else,” laughed Capone. “All you need is to do that once. Fishnets never again.”

Capone, manager of Nk’Mip Cellars, wears compression pants or proper athletic wear. She practices twice a week and once or twice a month will travel from her home in Osoyoos to go to Armstrong. When she isn’t practicing she hits the gym to make sure she is fit enough to play, as well as to avoid injury.

“It’s huge. That way you make sure you don’t injure yourself,” said Capone, who knows she will never be paid to play the game. “It’s a physical sport and injuries happen.”

Capone and the Pistoleras are back in action Saturday (May 13) at the Penticton Curling Club starting at 7 p.m. against their favourite rival, Okanagan (Kelowna) Roller Derby for Mothers Slay. Capone said they love OKRD as they play a lot, but are also a tough team. She is nervous and excited about the game, but said the Pistoleras have a really good team.

“We’re going to give them a really good, challenging game,” she said. “It’s going to be pretty awesome.”

Capone said people would be surprised at how interesting and serious the game can be. Once they start to understand rules and strategy, she said “It’s a pretty awesome sport.” She said there is no other sport where you are playing offence and defence at the same time.

Capone said if someone is looking for something to be a big part of their life, in which you can challenge yourself, she recommends roller derby.

“You make an incredible group of friends,” she said.

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