The first time I heard about roller derby was when I was eleven years old. I was reading the Edmonton Journal over my mom’s shoulder when an article about the new Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby Association caught my eye.
Dave McQueen was kind enough to send us this sneak peak of yesterdays Team Canada try-outs. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but I am curious to know if the pictures can begin to tell the amazing stories that unfolded at yesterday’s try-outs…
You can view the rest of the photos HERE
As women we have the difficult task of being responsible for our own empowerment. For centuries we have strived for power in our personal and professional lives and the one thing we have struggled with the most is power over ourselves. So often we allow others to tell us the best way to act, to think, to feel and we unfairly compare ourselves to others instead of embracing our own unique qualities. What I have always loved about Junior Roller Derby is how empowering it is to young women. It allows them to explore sides of themselves that are not often encouraged in other areas of their lives. Instead of being told what is “ladylike” they are able to explore what makes them unique and powerful. They don’t have to be like everyone else, they can just be the best version of themselves. The freedom to explore their own prowess, their mental and physical capabilities as well as their own dynamic skills is in itself a confidence builder. So often in competitive sports elements of our missions become lost in the desire to produce results. Our aims and objectives become blurred. When mentoring talented youth athletes it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with young ladies that are already facing a great deal of judgments and strife in their adolescent lives and that for most of them sports is an outlet, a place for them to be themselves. Instead of comparing them to their teammates and spotlighting their weaknesses we have a unique opportunity to build them up and encourage all of the things that make them special. I have always been a firm believer that critique works best when spun positively. Realistically, it sounds easier in print then it actually is. As adults we have experienced our own share of life’s hard knocks and putting a positive spin on things doesn’t always come naturally. Yesterday at Edmonton’s Team Canada try-outs a group of teenagers taught me incredible things about the power of positive encouragement. A group of young women competing against each other for a spot representing their country; playing a sport they love, were the number one cheerleaders for the opposition. Their bright lights shone not only on themselves but also on the accomplishments of their fellow skaters. Their joys and their triumphs were shared. I was astounded that a group of young women displayed a level of maturity beyond their years and an energy and character that I am envious of. To feel not only a sense of pride in their own accomplishments but delight in the achievements of their teammates was a very compelling thing to observe. They are the future, and the future of this great sport. I applaud their incredible talent but first and foremost their leadership. These young ladies empower me to be better, more supportive and encouraging to the people in my life. Canada would be lucky to have them as it’s Junior Roller Derby representatives. xo